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December 28, 2009
â€“ Adam Russell
The last of the year
2009 has been a good year for WWE programming in general, but a terrible year for Raw. This actually dates back to before the guest
host concept took over the show, and right back to the road to Wrestlemania, when I first started writing these reports. The company didnâ
€™t exactly save the best until last, but this Raw did at least give us some hope that 2010 might be a better year for the flagship show.
Along with this weekâ€™s report, Iâ€™ll be sharing with you my hopes for each wrestler for the coming year.
We started the show outside the arena, where Chris Jericho was trying to get fans to sign a petition which would allow him back onto
Inside the arena, John Cena made his way out to the ring, to talk about his scheduled world championship match with Sheamus for later
in the show. Cena set a table up in the ring, and then climbed to the second rope, saying that that is where Sheamus became the
champ. He then proclaimed that he wanted his rematch right then and there, and he wanted it to be a tables match, which brought out
Sheamus. Sheamus climbed into the ring and said that itâ€™s Cena, not he, who has something to prove, and that their match will be
on his terms. He explained that a tables match is no challenge for him, as he has already put Cena through a table, and that he would
beat him in a straight-up one on one contest. The last image of Raw in 2009, he concluded, would be him standing over Cena holding
his championship belt. As he turned to walk away, Cena jumped down from the second rope and snared Sheamus, FU-ing him through
It would be senseless to criticise this segment, as it was typical of what the WWE has been doing for several years. In that regard, it fits in
with the logic of their universe. However, I hate how wrestlers seem to have the power to book their own matches/stipulations (and theyâ
€™ll be another example of this before the night is over), and Cena putting Sheamus through the table not only does no favours to the
champion (whose credibility hasnâ€™t exactly been strongly established thus far), but it also hotshots what could have been a long-term
story about Cena gaining his ultimate retribution on the Irishman by doing to him what Sheamus had done to him on more than one
Next we cut backstage to the guest host, Timbaland, who was â€˜partyingâ€™ with perpetual floozies, the Bella twins, and Gail Kim.
Josh Matthews came in and asked Timbaland about the status of the championship match, and Timba, after consulting with the fans,
said the match was still on.
We then joined Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, who were greeted in their locker room by a thoughtful Randy Orton. Orton told them that
he thinks Legacy is over, saying that he realises heâ€™s wasted the last year and a half of his life with them. He cited the loss last week
in a 6-man tag team match against three men who have nothing in common (Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and Mark Henry), and the fact
that neither he, nor them, is currently a champion, as reasons for his feelings and, upon hearing their protestations (with Cody and Ted
saying that he never would have been champion without them) told them they he has set up a pair of singles matches for them for later in
the night. Dibiase was to take on Bourne, and Cody would battle Henry, and Orton told them that if they lost, not only would they be kicked
out of Legacy, but he would beat the hell out of them.
With rumours circulating for months, and many teases, about a Legacy break-up, at this point it seemed very disappointing if this were
indeed to signal the end. At various points in recent history, WWE has manipulated the fans into getting fully behind both Ted and Cody,
willing them to say enough is enough to their despotic leader and breaking away. Right now, that kind of fan reaction isnâ€™t there.
Randy Orton made his way out to the arena next, to get a front row seat as his charges fought for their future in Legacy.
--- Ted DiBiase Vs Evan Bourne
DiBiase got the upper-hand with a kneelift, but then missed an elbowdrop, allowing Bourne to hit a dropkick. Ted regained control with a
hard-hitting clothesline (causing Bourne to perform a backflip), and then hit a delayed suplex and elbowdrops, before locking on a
facelock. Bourne hit back with some kicks, before running into a kick. DiBiase went up to the second rope, but Bourne hit an impressive
hurricanrana on him from a standing position, for a two count. He then hit a jumping knee, and went up top, but Teddy followed him up.
Bourne punched him off, and then jumped over him, but Dibiase lifted him up and threw him over his head into the corner. It looked like
Bourne was supposed to take a nice safe bump off the top turnbuckle here, but they were standing too far out from the corner, and he
took a nasty spill onto the mat. DiBiase then followed up with Dream Street for the textbook win at 2â€™33. The watching Orton seemed
DiBiase in 2010: to me, DiBiase is very promising, but is behind Cody Rhodes in every regard. 2010 could be big for him, with the long-
talked of babyface turn possibly on the way, and Iâ€™d really like to see him develop some way in terms of his character. At the moment,
he comes across as very bland.
Bourne in 2010: it would be nice to see Bourne get some kind of upward mobility, as his career has stalled maybe more than anybody
--- Cody Rhodes Vs Mark Henry
Henry established dominance early on with a big beel, and a shoulderblock, but then missed a sitdown splash, giving Rhodes an in.
Cody hit a dropkick, but then ran into a clothesline. Henry hit another clothesline, and then hit a vertical splash against the ropes, which
propelled the big man to the outside. Upon landing on the outside, Henry hurt his leg, and that was enough of a window of opportunity for
Rhodes to take out the leg and hit a DDT for the victory at 2â€™06. Orton seemed a little more impressed with this victory, shaking Codyâ
€™s hand and leaving with him. It looked like Orton was possibly just trying to motivate his men, although the differing reactions to the
two victories does add intrigue. The angle was fairly well done, and Iâ€™m interested to see where we go from here.
Rhodes in 2010: Iâ€™m becoming a big fan of Cody, and I merely hope in 2010 that he doesnâ€™t get left behind. I think he could be a
force as either a face or a heel, and would like to see him in an extended singles programme.
Henry in 2010: I think Henry has found his niche on Raw as a dominating face who can be used to put over heels, making them look
strong. I would be happy for him to continue in that role.
In the back, Jillian Hall wanted to audition for Timbaland (of course she did). We then panned to the left where Triple H was duct taping
Hornswoggle to a skateboard (of course he was). Shawn Michaels appeared and was in no mood for fun, being concerned about an
announced Vince McMahon appearance for later in the show, in which the chairman would address the rumours of Bret Hartâ€™s return.
Triple H told Shawn that he should keep his nose out, and worry instead about their match against the Big Show and a partner of his
choosing. We then went back to Jillian who started singing for Timbaland, until Hunter sent Hornswoggle into her, bowling her over. I like
that two stupid skits were combined into one here. Now, thatâ€™s progress!
--- Kelly Kelly Vs Maryse
Kelly hit a spear and the two girls began rolling around on the mat. Kelly then hit a clothesline and a dropkick but missed a handspring
elbow. Maryse hit the hair-flick DDT for the win at 1â€™37, and then warned Melina that she is coming for the divas championship.
Back outside the arena, The Big Show approached Chris Jericho, who was still picketing outside the arena. The two talked about being â
€™specialâ€™ to each other, long distance relationships not working, and whether Show had found someone else, all obviously
designed to replicate the breaking up of lovers. Show finally handed Jericho an envelope, and told him to let go, before leaving. Jericho
opened the envelope and was very pleased with the contents. Both Show and Jericho are very good comic actors, and made this
segment work, broad though it was.
Jericho in 2010: more of the same.
Vince McMahon made his way out next, and a â€™we want Bretâ€™ chant immediately broke out. Vince said that he knows everybody
loves the guest host concept (which I took as â€˜I know people donâ€™t like it but Iâ€™m gonna keep doing it anywayâ€™), which
proves that thereâ€™s nothing he wouldnâ€™t do for the fans, and continued that he wants to address the rumours that Bret Hart would
be guest hosting next week. He then showed a video dedicated to Bret, a really nice tribute which ended with an extended look at the
Montreal incident. I suppose this was necessary to remind the younger fans of what went down. McMahon went on that, just as he said at
the time, Bret screwed Bret, but he proved he was the better man by allowing Bret back for the Hall of Fame. He said that at the Hall of
Fame ceremony he tried to shake Bretâ€™s hand, but Bret refused, and then teased that he would bring Hart back despite that, before
saying that he couldnâ€™t do it. He announced that Bret would never be a guest host on Raw, and then started to leave until Shawn
Michaels came out. Michaels said that there are rivalries which are bigger than this industry, but revealed he wasnâ€™t talking about him
and Bret, but him and The Undertaker. He asked Vince to make a Wrestlemania rematch between him and â€™Taker, but McMahon said
he knew better than to interfere in the Undertakerâ€™s affairs. Shawn told Vince that he can understand him being afraid of â€™Taker,
but not Bret, to which Vince responded that he is afraid of nobody. Shawn said that bringing Bret back would give Vince closure, and that
only good things will happen. Vince garnered from that that Shawn had something in store for the Hitman, and finally announced Bret as
guest host for next week.
This was an awfully long way to announce something that everybody already knew, but of course thereâ€™s no shortage of intrigue here.
Iâ€™ll go on record as saying that Bret Hart is my favourite wrestler, and I have mixed feelings about his return. My overwhelming feeling
is of excitement to see where this is going to lead, but I am also concerned that this comeback might damage Bretâ€™s legacy. Bret has
had well-documented health problems, and I have no interest in seeing him struggling out there, if that is the case. Itâ€™s also worth
noting that it has been twelve years since Bret was last in a WWE ring, and I think it will be sad if he is not given the reception that he
deserves. Still, thereâ€™s no doubt that Iâ€™m more excited about the WWE product now than I have been in a long, long time.
In the back, Josh asked John Cena if he thought he had the momentum after putting Sheamus through a table earlier in the night. Before
Cena could respond, he was attacked from behind and beaten down by the WWE champion.
MVP was with Timbaland next, and they were joined by Kofi Kingston, who wanted to thank Timba for an opportunity to challenge for the
US championship. The deal was that if Kofi could beat the Miz in a non-title match later in the night, he would get a championship match
next week. Yes, after the mega-push Kofi seemed to be getting just a couple of months ago, he is now back to being in exactly the same
position as he was before. Rather him than MVP though, who cut a sad figure asking for the first shot when Kofi wins the belt. Miz walked
in at that point, doing his annoying â€™really?â€™ bit. This so annoyed Timbaland that he announced that if Kofi beat him tonight, the
US championship match would follow directly.
MVP in 2010: just a push.
--- The Miz Vs Kofi Kingston
Miz hit elbows, a suplex, and his corner clothesline, before going up top and jumping into Trouble in Paradise, which gave Kofi the win
after 49 seconds.
--- United States Championship Match- The Miz (champion) Vs Kofi Kingston
Coming back from the break, we joined this in progress, with Kofi hitting a pendulum kick, and then a high cross body block for a two
count. He followed up with the SOS and a crucifix, both for nearfalls, and then a side Russian legsweep, B cubed and Trouble in
Paradise. He covered Miz but Randy Orton appeared to break the count, sending Kofi into the ringpost and then hitting an RKO on the
floor. The match ended by DQ at 1â€™31, meaning that the Miz was essentially jobbed out twice in under two and a half minutes. Itâ€™s
in some way heartening to see that the Orton/Kingston feud will continue though, with a good chance that Kofi will get a win over his foe.
Miz in 2010: Iâ€™m not a fan, so I really donâ€™t care all that much. I just wish heâ€™d stop saying â€˜really?â€™
Kingston in 2010: it would be nice to see the company follow through with this push. Heâ€™s not who I would have chosen to be the
recipient of said push (that would be MVP), but now that itâ€™s started, itâ€™s silly just to abort it.
Orton in 2010: I just donâ€™t want to see the babyface turn that some fans seem to be clamouring for. Heâ€™s just such a natural heel
that it wouldnâ€™t be able to buy him at all as a good guy.
In the back, the ever busy Josh Matthews asked Orton why he attacked Kofi. Orton explained that it wonâ€™t be over between the two of
them until he says it is, and that they will end it next week in a match. Orton added that he canâ€™t think of a better way to kick off the new
year than by kicking Kofi in the head.
--- Shawn Michaels and Triple H Vs The Big Show and Chavo Guerrero
Chavo was a rather disappointing mystery partner for Show, and it was revealed that a ringside ticket was in the envelope that Show gave
to Jericho, as the latter made his way to the front row. Chavo and Triple H started out, with Chavo immediately going for the three amigos,
with Hunter countering on the second into a delayed vertical suplex. He hit a kneedrop, but Chavo came back with a dropkick before
running into a clothesline. Michaels tagged in and hit a couple of inverted atomic drops. Shawn then hit the ropes, giving Show a chance
to grab him by the hair. Chavo tagged Show, who choked Shawn before tagging back out, and Chavo went for a hilo, with Shawn getting
his knees up to block. A pair of tags brought Hunter and Show in, and Triple H barrelled into the big man with punches, before delivering
a spinebuster to Chavo. He then hit a facebuster on Show, but ate a big spear. Show tagged Chavo, and the latter attempted a frogsplash
off Showâ€™s shoulders. Triple H moved and Michaels came in, taking Show over the top rope by hanging on to a front facelock. In the
confusion this caused, Hornswoggle entered from underneath the ring and went for a pedigree on Chavo. Chavo back body dropped
him, but took the pedigree from Hunter, with the Game covering for the win at 4â€™55. This was by far the best match of the night, simply
for the fact that it lasted longer than two and a half minutes. After the match, Jericho jumped the railing to complain, and took a Sweet
Chin Music for his troubles. Triple H got on the mic and said that if Jericho was going to whine every week theyâ€™d give them their
rematch next week, with the stipulation that if Jericho and Show lose, then Jericho would be gone from Raw for good. For real this time,
no backsies. I already made reference to wrestlers making matches for themselves earlier in the report, so I wonâ€™t go into that again.
Triple H in 2010: I just want to see less of him. I know itâ€™s a really old talking point, but itâ€™s how I honestly feel.
Michaels in 2010: my interest in Michaels depends solely on what happens with the Bret Hart situation.
The Big Show in 2010: Show is being used as well as heâ€™s ever been right now. He gets a chance to do comedy stuff, which heâ
€™s very good at, but it doesnâ€™t detract from him being a big wrecking machine. More of that will be fine.
Chavo in 2010: I honestly wonder if I can ever give a shit about Chavo again. I guess weâ€™ll see.
Timbaland came out to do the guest ring announcing for the main event next, which started after 11pm by the way. He didnâ€™t really
seem to know what was going on.
--- WWE Championship Match- Sheamus (champion) Vs John Cena
A punch exchange started the match, with Cena coming out on top. He went for a bulldog but Sheamus blocked, then hit a clothesline
and a suplex for a two count. He missed another clothesline, and Cena hit the flying shoulders (vintage), the back suplex slam and the
five knuckle shuffle. He then went for an FU, but Sheamus grabbed the ropes. Cena pulled him off the ropes, so Sheamus grabbed the
referee, sending him to the mat. Cena hit the FU, but the ref called for the bell, giving Cena the DQ win, but not the belt, at 2â€™18. What
a terrible finish to a match theyâ€™ve been hyping all week. The whole match was an abortion, in fact. Cena attacked Sheamus in the
aisle after the match, sending him into the ring, but Sheamus caught him with a pump kick, and then hit another for good measure, with
the show ending, just as Sheamus predicted, with the champion standing over Cenaâ€™s body. Of course, this really didnâ€™t do
anything for Sheamus by this point, as he was lucky not to get beat clean in a couple of minutes. It does set up another match between
the two, probably at the Royal Rumble, with some stipulation attached.
Sheamus in 2010: he rose from out of nowhere in the last couple of months, so in 2010 Iâ€™d like him to show me that he really
deserves to be in the position heâ€™s in.
Cena in 2010: doesnâ€™t he have a movie to make or something?
I find it astonishing that on a two hour-plus show, the company canâ€™t put on one match that lasts longer than five minutes. All these
short matches do absolutely nothing for anybody concerned. Despite this major flaw, there was quite a bit to get excited about this week.
Obviously, the Bret Hart announcement is the major news, but it was nice to see some further development in the Orton/Kingston and
DX/Jeri-Show feuds, as well as more hinting at the break-up of Legacy. A decent show then to end a terrible year. Hereâ€™s to a better
MVP of the night- Bret Hart. Yep, heâ€™s not even here yet and Iâ€™m already marking out.
Host-o-metre- Timbaland was affable enough, and his involvement was kept to a minimum. I call it a narrow victory.