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February 15, 2010
– Adam Russell

“I’m a Closet Wrestling Fan”

Wrestling and Jerry Springer. Something about those two things just seems to go together. Maybe it’s the fact that when either is done
well, you shouldn’t be able to tell it’s a work. More obviously, there’s the sleaze factor. There are certainly many wrestlers over the years
who wouldn’t have been out of place on the Springer show. It was a natural then, that Jerry Springer would get a go as the guest host of
Raw and, just like the Springer show, there were moments here which should make you ashamed to be a human being. This was also
the go-home Raw for the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view (I wish they’d come up with another name for this event, as I keep having to
distinguish between elimination chamber, the match, and Elimination Chamber, the pay-per-view), and like on last week’s Smackdown,
the six chamber participants were scheduled to face one another in a series of singles matches, starting with the WWE champion in
action.

--- Sheamus Vs Randy Orton

Orton was the clear fan favourite in this match, the recipient of an early ‘RKO’ chant, but it was Sheamus who controlled much of the early
going with his brawling offence. He hit a powerslam, but Randy ducked a pump kick, causing Sheamus to duck out of the ring to avoid an
RKO, as we went to commercial at 2’15. At 5’16 we came back to find Orton stomping away on the champion, as Ted DiBiase and Cody
Rhodes came out to a chorus of boos. If it was ever the company’s intention to turn either of these guys babyface with the break-up of
Legacy, they have to have realised now that it isn’t going to happen. The distraction allowed Sheamus to hit his urinagi backbreaker, but
Orton fought back with a standing dropkick, and the backbreaker a la Orton. Sheamus blocked another RKO and escaped to the floor,
followed by the Viper, who sent him into the ring-post. DiBiase then tried to attack Sheamus, with the referee distracted by Orton in the
ring, but the Irishman fought him off, only to be attacked from behind by Rhodes. The referee, however, saw the latter’s interference, and
disqualified Orton at 8’33. Orton was furious, and Ted was quick to point the finger of blame at Cody. Orton sized up his options before
delivering an RKO to Rhodes. Sheamus then hit the pump kick on DiBiase, before eating an RKO of his own. Orton got a strong babyface
reaction.

I think the company has made a mistake by going with the Orton turn here, at the expense of Rhodes and/or DiBiase, who would have a
lot better chance of getting over as the sympathetic faces finally fighting back against their oppressive and abusive leader. I think back to
the Raw I attended last August, with Dusty Rhodes as guest host, and the stage was set there for just such a turn of events, with the
crowd chanting Cody’s name. Since then though, the company seems to have been content to portray Rhodes and DiBiase as more and
more of a homogenous mass of bland heelery. Orton should be big as a face though.

We were told at the start of the show that Springer had allowed Bret Hart to come and address the crowd about his issues with Vince
McMahon, and that time came next. Bret informed us that Vince wasn’t there, and said that he’d have been waiting for him if he was. He
went on that he had his heart set on a match with Vince at WrestleMania, but it’s not to be, adding that victory lasts a lifetime, but
excellence will last forever. He then thanked the fans and the superstars for welcoming him back, especially John Cena, but he’s going
to take this opportunity to say goodbye.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler talked about this shocking turn of events as we saw Bret saying goodbye to a few wrestlers in the back,
sleazily asking Alicia Fox for a hug. Cena then appeared, trying to convince Bret to stay, but Bret told him it was the end of the line. Bret got
into a limo but, off-camera, a car reversed into the limo, “crushing” Bret’s leg that was hanging out of the door. Cena rushed to the scene,
berating the young woman driving the car, and Bret was bundled into an ambulance with his leg in a cast. Cole then worryingly called this
the “worst night of Bret’s life”. Yeah, I can’t think of anything else bad that’s happened to Bret.

This whole backstage segment was pretty bad, and brought to mind Hulk Hogan trying to murder the Rock with a vehicular assault in the
build-up to their WrestleMania 18 match. WWE have a can’t-miss angle with Bret and Vince, and there’s really no need to complicate
things with silly angles like this.

--- The Big Show and The Miz Vs MVP and Mark Henry

This was a none-title match for the new tag team champions, started off by MVP dominating Miz with a flapjack and a big boot over the top
rope as we went to the break at the 44 second mark. We returned at 3’56 with Miz in control with a front facelock, but MVP managed to
back body drop him and make the tag to Henry. Henry hit the World’s Strongest Slam on Miz after catching a cross body block, but Show
broke the count with a legdrop. Show then tagged in, but Henry hit him with a splash in the corner. He went for a powerslam, but Show
countered into a DDT and then, after tripping over Henry, missed the Vader Bomb elbowdrop. MVP tagged in and hit a facebuster and a
big boot in the corner on Show, but then he ran into a boot. Show tagged Miz who went for the cover, but MVP reversed into a crucifix to get
the pin at 6’33. This probably leads to a rematch for the belts at Elimination Chamber, which is fine except it telegraphs the result of the
Miz/Show Vs Goldust/Yoshi Tatsu match on ECW. You might say the result of that match was already obvious, but I’m a dreamer.

It was time for the Jerry Springer segment, in which Jerry promised to reveal the most intimate relationships of the WWE superstars. I’ll
describe the segment concisely, and without comment, as really the stupidity speaks for itself.

Kelly Kelly came out to confess that she’s pregnant and wasn’t sure who the father is because she’s a whore. Santino came out and
said it’s him, but Kelly said she needed someone to finish the job while he was sleeping. Michael Cole took credit, but was largely
ignored. Jerry Lawler took credit, and got into the ring. Springer took jabs at Lawler for being a paedo, and Santino called Brian
Christopher a screw-up. The Bellas then came out, and Nikki accused Brie of being a man. They had a catfight until Chris Masters came
out. Kelly had slept with him too, which brought out Eve, who said that she herself was cheating on Masters with the Great Khali. Springer
said he had the paternity test results, and Santino asked how that was even possible. The father was revealed to be Hornswoggle. Jerry
Lawler then revealed to Springer that this had all been a set-up to make him feel more at home, but then brought out Mae Young to attack
Springer.

Watching this, I began to wonder what I’m doing with my life.

--- Kofi Kingston Vs Ted DiBiase

DiBiase was smartly selling Sheamus’s kick from earlier, as Kofi dominated with a back suplex, dropkick, leg lariat, jumping clothesline
and the B cubed legdrop. He then missed a jumping mount into the corner and DiBiase hit Dream Street for the win at 2’58. This was
incredibly detrimental to Kingston, who basically battered a semi-conscious DiBiase for 3 minutes, throwing all his big offence at him,
but still couldn’t get the job done. At the time it looked as though the feud with Randy Orton was going to make Kofi, but he’s arguably
worse off now than he was before.

Antonio Inoki was announced as the latest inductee into the 2010 Hall of Fame, with a nice video package.

Springer’s final thought was next, and was just a plug for the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. He then left with Mae, asking us not to
judge him.

John Cena came out next, wished Bret Hart well, and then turned his attention to Batista. He said he did nothing to provoke Batista, but
when trouble finds him, he reacts, and now it’s time to fight. Batista appeared on the TitanTron, via satellite, and said that Cena likes to
act tough when he isn’t there, but he will be on Raw next week, so we’ll see how much he runs his mouth then.

--- John Cena Vs Triple H

Cena took Hunter down with a headlock, and hit a shoulderblock, before Triple H gained the edge with a knee and some shoulders to
the gut of his opponent. Cena hit the first big offensive move of the match, a fisherman’s suplex, but Triple H blocked a bulldog and
dropped a knee on him. Cena blocked another kneedrop and went for the STF, but Triple H kicked him off. Cena then sent the Game to
the outside with a whip to the corner, but Hunter sidestepped a jump off the apron from Cena, who ended up going into the security wall.
Hunter then went for a Pedigree, but Cena back body dropped him, and we went to commercial at 3’44. We returned at 6’37 with Cena in
a sleeper, but he managed to fight out, hit the flying shoulderblocks, back suplex slam, and the five knuckle shuffle. Triple H escaped an
FU attempt and hit a clothesline for a two count, and then went for a suplex which was blocked by Cena. Cena hit his flying legdrop from
the top, which always looks like it should hurt him way more than his opponent, and went for the STF again. This time Trips reversed the
move into a half Boston crab, but Cena reversed that into the STF. Hunter got to the ropes, and then caught Cena with a high knee. He
followed up with a facebuster, and was going for a Pedigree when Sheamus ran in and knocked both men down with pump kicks, before
hitting the Razor’s Edge on the Game. I made Triple H the winner by disqualification at 11’51.

This was a pretty bland main event, but I thought the finish was effective in making Sheamus look strong heading into a match where I’m
sure not many people give him a chance of winning. It could also have planted a seed for a Triple H Vs Sheamus WrestleMania match.
Cena is obviously tackling Batista at ‘Mania, and there video wall tete-a-tete was fine in continuing their feud.

My final thought (see what I did there?) is that, while this was a Raw most memorable for the terrible Jerry Springer skit, and the
misguided Bret Hart angle, it did at least attempt to set things up for the Raw elimination chamber match on Sunday, and also kept the
ball rolling towards WrestleMania. In some regards, it makes sense just to totally ignore the Springer silliness as if it exists in a bubble,
as that stuff will always go on, it seems, in the WWE. At least here it was restricted to one segment.

MVP of the night- Sheamus. I thought he looked good in his match with Orton, and came out of the show looking the strongest he ever
has.

Line of the night- “Victory lasts a lifetime, but excellence lasts forever”- Bret Hart.

Host-o-metre- Springer could actually have been entertaining, if they had used him to focus on the actual storyline pasts of some of the
wrestlers. As it is, by virtue of the material, he’ll go down as one of the worst hosts there has been.

The Michael Cole ‘Vintage’ Moment of the Week- We got a two-fer this week; Cena’s flying shoulderblocks, and Triple H’s facebuster.
Meanwhile, Mike’s line about this being the worst night of Bret’s life was ‘vintage Cole’.