Full Credit: Wade Keller, PWTorch.com
-A video showed great highlights from WWE’s past year. Then the narrator welcomed us to the Slammy Awards, followed by the typical Raw opening.
-Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. They hyped Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy. Jim Ross and Tazz were shown standing at ringside. They hyped Triple H vs. Batista. Back to Cole and Lawler to plug Edge vs. John Cena in a champion vs. champion match.
-Lilian Garcia introduced the first presenters, Maria and Festus. They walked out onto the stage and stood at the podium. Festus was powered down, frozen with his tongue blocking his mouth opening. After Maria read her line, Festus leaned in to read his line, but he said nothing. Maria threw to the video package for tag team of the year: Carlito & Primo Colon, Priceless (Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes), Miz & John Morrison, and Cryme Tyme. Maria announced Miz & Morrison were the winners. Certainly the right choice. They ran onto the stage, celebrating and hugging one another. Morrison took the Slammy and said, “I can’t believe it. Finally!” Miz insisted Maria kiss his hand. Miz made fun of Festus. He moved his jaw up and down and mocked him. He spanked him as he walked away with Maria. Morrison thanked the Academy, his mom, Chuck Norris for the inspiration, and I think Scandar Akbar. He said there were a lot of people early who said they couldn’t do it, but he said, “We said, ‘Yes we can!’ We’re here to tell those very same people, ‘Yes we did!'” Morrison began crying. Miz told him to take a moment and breath. Miz held the Slammy and said this award means they’re not only the best team of 2008, but they are the greatest tag team of the 21st Century. Morrison said, “In life there are winners and there are losers.” They closed with “Be jealous!”
1 — JOHN MORRISON vs. C.M. PUNK — Intercontinental Championship Tourney Semi-Finals
Cole and Lawler reviewed the tourney brackets, which also included Rey Mysterio vs. Kofi Kingston. At 1:00 they brawled to the floor where Punk hit Morrison with two hard knees, then springboarded off the ropes backward with a bodyblock onto Morrison. They cut to a break.
After the break, they showed a clip of Punk landing awkwardly on his ankle on the floor during the break. Morrison worked over the ankle. Punk escaped and kicked Morrison, but then cringed and grabbed at his sore ankle. Morrison stomped the ankle and then climbed to the top rope. Punk met him at the top and gave him a huracanrana off the top. Punk looked like he landed on his head, but he must’ve been fine as he clutched at his ankle again. Punk crawled over for a cover and got a two count at 6:00. He followed with a running knee in the corner, but again sold his ankle injury. Morrison came back and scored a near fall with a face plant. Morrison ducked a Punk kick and nailed a spinning hook kick to his head for a believable near fall. Punk fired back with a snap powerslam for a near fall. Punk hit a crossbody block for a near fall. They cut to the back where William Regal watched the match on a monitor with Leyla next to him. Punk set up a Go 2 Sleep, but Morrison countered with a victory roll for a very near fall. Lawler said he knew this would be a great match. Punk caught Morrison with a roundkick to the head. Punk followed with the Go 2 Sleep for the win.
WINNER: Punk in 13:00.
STAR RATING: *** — I liked that match a lot. Good selling, exciting athleticism, hard-hitting, realistic, well-paced, with believable near falls.
-They went to Cole and Lawler at ringside, who were dressed up for this event. They threw to a clip of the John Cena-Chris Jericho happenings last week on Raw.
-One half of the Slammy Announcing Team of the Year, Todd Grisham, interviewed John Cena backstage. He asked for his reaction to the footage. Cena said, “Hustle. Loyalty. Respect.” He said Jericho doesn’t believe those words still exist. He said when he was at home healing his neck, his dog Lou became a big fan of Raw. He said every time Jericho walked to the ring, he’d clean himself. Then he’d throw up. He said that made him sick. He said he banned him from watching Raw until Armageddon. He said he’s sorry about Jericho’s son and he didn’t mean to cause him any turmoil at home. He asked him if he realizes that he was running around imitating him because his father had become a smug, snot-nosed punk who needed his teeth knocked down his throat. The crowd cheered, then boos surfaced. Cena said if what happened to him happened to Jericho last week, Jericho would be demanding Cena be stripped of the title. He said he’s going to take care of business the only way he knows how by fighting Jericho. He said he’s not going to be sneaky about it. “Tonight, I am coming to get you,” he said. He pointed at his t-shirt and repeated the HLR motto. He said he will get a reeducation tonight of the definition of the word respect. Cena knows he’s the ratings king right now in this industry and it shows. He’s never been more confident and sure-footed in delivering a promo than that. He’s figured out who he is and what works. Hopefully this means the “Poopy” version is dead for good.
-After a really nice arial shot of Philadelphia, Lawler and Cole threw to the stage for the next Slammy award.
-Cryme Tyme and Candice Michelle walked out to present the next award. After some banter between CT and Candice, J.T.G. and Shad offered up some classic finishers. Candice said it’s their honor to present the Slammy Award for the Best Finishing Maneuver of 2008. She asked who wants to see her finishing maneuver. Candidates: Hell’s Gate (Undertaker’s submission), R.K.O. (by Randy Orton), Shooting Star Press (by Evan Bourne), and Knockout Punch (by Big Show). Candice asked where the Slammy was. J.T.G. and Shad tried to hide it behind their backs. Candice found it and waved them away. Then she read card revealing the winner: Evan Bourne. Wow, management likes him. Good. Candice said Evan can’t be there because “he’s suffering from a severe ankle injury.” She was about to accept it on his behalf when Mike Knox walked out and stared her down. He took the Slammy from her. She walked away. He snorted. He looks a lot bigger than he did a year ago. He’s mean and nasty looking, too, but not quite in a Snitsky way; more like a Bruiser Brody way, although there will never be another Brody.
-Lawler said Knox is one of the main reasons Bourne isn’t here tonight, and now he takes his Slammy. Cole brought up the backstage attack by Knox on Bourne. Randy Orton’s music interrupted and he walked out onto the stage. Lawler wondered if he was upset with not winning a Slammy.
-Orton said, “You’d think being WWE Champion four months of the year and winning the main event match at WrestleMania was impressive, but apparently it’s not good enough to warrant a nomination for Superstar of the Year, even though I’ve beaten all of the nominees. So, tonight is like any other night. It’s about me being shown a lack of respect, but I’m used to it.” He said it all started with Evolution, where Triple H was the star, Ric Flair was the legend, Batista “the muscle,” and “I was the crown jewel.” He said Batista and Triple H were so jealous, the group imploded. He said when he become the youngest World Champion ever, they turned on him. He said as a result, he, Manu, and Cody Rhodes are challenging Batista & Triple H to a handicapped match. He closed: “Tonight, The Legacy is born.” That’s odd to challenge someone to a match where you have the one man advantage. If they go through with it, it’s better than giving away Triple H vs. Batista, although it counts as a “bait and switch,” even on a free show. But not a bad one.
-Cole plugged Jericho vs. Hardy.
-WWE Fact: ECW was the Sci-Fi Channel’s most watched telecast last Thursday for the tenth week in a row.
-MVP stood in the ring and began: “This whole losing streak thing has been blown out of proportion, but it ends tonight.” He pointed at Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies at ringside. He said his team’s win was a fluke. He ripped on Philadelphia sports teams and said he is a dynasty, something Philly will never have. Charlie Haas then walked out, dressed like MVP, calling himself MVC. This is pretty funny, actually. MVP went after MVC quickly and aggressively. Haas fought back, but MVP chopped him in the throat, kneed him, and then hit the elbowdrop for barely a two count. MVP threw MVC over the top rope to the floor. MVP and Rollins trashed talked each other from a distance. When MVP turned back to the ring, MVC took over with a flurry of offense. He did MVP’s pre-elbow routine. MVP caught him with an elbow, though, and then popped him in the ribs a few times. He missed a running boot and then cradled MVP for the win. Rollins laughed at ringside.
WINNER: Most Valuable Charlie in 3:00.
-Ross hyped that the Slammy Award for Extreme Moment of the Year was up next.
-Lilian Garcia introduced Matt Hardy and Tiffany to present the next Slammy. Hardy walked out in Big Daddy V’s sports coat. He said it’s great to be back in the Home of Extreme, Philadelphia. The nominees are: JBL-Cena parking lot brawl (ugh – the attempted vehicular homicide incident), Undertaker’s crash landing (when Edge tipped him off a ladder through four stacked tables at ringside), Jericho throwing Shawn Michaels through the Jeritron mid-ring, and Jeff Hardy’s Plunge off the rafters and being stretchered out. Matt announced the winner was – with a smile that gave it away – Jeff Hardy. Jeff walked out and Matt presented the award to him. Jeff said it all started years ago on a trampoline in North Carolina. He said on Sunday, he doesn’t care if he walks out or crawls out, he will walk out Armageddon WWE Champion. That’s quite a promise. Matt told him to go do his business. Did he sense he had to poop? He is his brother, after all. Oh, his match was up next. Hardy left the Slammy behind.
-The ring intros for Hardy and Jericho took place.
3 — JEFF HARDY vs. CHRIS JERICHO
The match was joined in progress. Hardy was on offense, ramming Jericho into the ringpost. Jericho ducked a charging Hardy, who fell to the apron. Then he dropkicked him off the apron to the floor. Nice sequence, well executed. Jericho settled into an odd cobra sleeper type hold center ring.
[End Hour One]
Cole reset the stage for viewers who were just joining the show at the usual start time. Cole listed the awards already given out. Lawler asked if he and Cole won the announce team. Cole said the award was already given out. Tazz asked if he and Ross won. Cole said it was Todd Grisham & Matt Striker. Ross congratulated them. Tazz and Lawler briefly protested. It was the only politically safe move. What about Mike Adamle & Tazz? Aren’t they up for it since they were on air earlier this year? The action was back and forth for a few minutes. Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind at 7:00 for a believable near fall. Tazz said Hardy wrestles every match like it’s his last. Ross said, “It very well could be.” Jericho surprised Hardy with a Code Breaker for the three count.
WINNER: Jericho in 8:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Good match in a short time (only about 6:00 aired on TV). Big win for Jericho, and the right move. jericho needed a clean win for an in-ring credibility boost going into Sunday, and Hardy is pretty Teflon at this point.
-Backstage, Orton led Cody and Manu out of a room with a sign that said it was Stephanie McMahon‘s locker room.
-An ECW commercial hyped Finlay vs. Mark Henry.
-Kane and Kelly Kelly walked out to announce another Slammy Award winner. Kelly said, “Love is a wonderful thing.” She looked at Kane, who didn’t seem to agree. Kane said, “The last time I was involved in a relationship, I Tombstoned a priest.” Kelly laughed. Couple of the Year nominees: Glamarella (Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix), Edge & Vickie Guerrero, William Regal & Layla, and William Regal & Hornswoggle. Okay, which pair isn’t like the others? Kelly announced the winning pair: Edge & Vickie. Vickie walked out with a neckbrace on, but no wheelchair. She smiled and accepted the award. “Excuse me!” she exclaimed a few times indignantly. She said this award means true love prevails.
-Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix walked out. They weren’t happy. Santino said, “You have-a got to be a-kidding me.” He said Edge and Vickie aren’t the Couple of the Year. He said Vickie is more like “Cougar of the Year.” He added: “Unlike Vickie and Edge, my special someone never loved me, hated me, and tried to have Undertaker send me to hell.” He said Glamarella deserves that award. They challenged the other couples to a match. He said last week he strained his “uh, strotucimous region,” he’ll still going to win.
4 — SANTINO MARELLA & BETH PHOENIX vs. FINLAY & HORNSWOGGLE
Hornswoggle kissed Phoenix’s hand. Santino protested. Finlay put his hat on Phoenix’s head. She dropped it on the mat and stepped on it, then slapped Finlay. Finlay slapped Santino in retaliation. Cole said WWE Magazine reported that Santino carries “Huggie Wipes” in his suitcase on his travels. After an atomic drop on Santino, Finlay tagged in Hornswoggle. Santino challenged him from his knees. Hornswoggle DDT’d him. Then he flew off the top rope with a frog splash. He came up slightly short, but scored the pin nonetheless. Cole laughed uproariously. Hornswoggle blew her a kiss.
WINNER: Hornswoggle & Finlay in 2:00. Santino can do a Rodney Dangerfield routine about getting no respect. Who’s got a worse record lately – Finlay or MVP?
-Lilian introduced Melina and Theodore Long to announce the Diva of the Year. They danced their way to the podium. Melina said all WWE Divas possess beauty, talent, ambition, and athleticism. She said above all else they are… and Teddy Long finished: “…hot!” Nominees: Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, and Michelle McCool. Melina announced the winner was Phoenix. Long and Melina both looked sad. Melina, who was helping Santino to his feet, dropped him when she heard she was the winner and ran to the podium. She clutched the Slammy and smiled broadly and proudly. She announced that she accepted on behalf of all of the “Determined Divas” out there. She gave Melina little shove. Melina gave her a stiff elbow to the face and then pounded her with a barrage of punches. Phoenix came back. Melina shoved Phoenix whose head bounced back into Santino’s crotch. Santino began dry heaving and clutching his privates. Phoenix apologized profusely. She helped him to the back.
-Lawler told Cole at ringside if he sees someone else throw up, he throws up. Cole announced that Triple H vs. Batista “just got huge!” Lawler detailed the change, that Triple H & Batista would face Orton & Cody & Manu instead. Smart to hold off on giving away Triple H vs. Batista (and it’s doubtful they’d have a particularly flattering match).
-A clip aired of the JBL-Shawn Michaels angle last week on Raw.
-Lilian introduced Joey Styles and Alicia Fox. Fox danced out to D.J. Gabriel’s intro music from ECW. Styles thankfully didn’t dance, but he did peek at her ass as she danced. A small “ECW” chant broke out. Styles introduced the segment by screaming: “Oh my God!” Fox said, “No wonder you were taken off TV.” OMG Moment of the Year nominees: C.M. Punk cashes in Money in the Bank to win the WWE Title, Undertaker sends Edge to Hell, Mayweather breaks Big Show’s nose, and John Cena’s return at the Royal Rumble. Punk won. That’s a surprise. It was an OMG moment, but I would have expected Cena to rack up an award. Punk said he’s wearing pants. “To say this was my miracle year would be an understatement,” he said. He said he doesn’t know if anyone has ever been IC Champion, Tag Champion, and WWE Champion all in one year, but now he’s got a chance at the IC Title. He pulled out some notes and began reading names of people he wanted to thank. It included Scotty Goldman, Mike Schmidt, and Rocky Balboa. That got some cheers. He ran off stage for a moment and then pulled Styles back to the podium to say, “Oh my God!” one more time. Styles refused at first, but finally gave in and did it. Has he ever done that on camera before?
5 — KOFI KINGSTON vs. REY MYSTERIO — Intercontinental Championship Tourney Semi-Final
Can they top Morrison and Punk from earlier? Good start, with a lot of cool non-stop spots with Kofi settling at 1:00 into an arm stretch. They again showed Regal and Layla backstage. Cole ran down some of the Slammy Awards that were announced on WWE.com. Rey missed a dropkick. Kofi went for a bridge pin, but Rey moved. He hit a corner splash, but Rey ducked a high crossbody. Rey then schoolboyed Kofi for a surprise leverage pin. Kofi reluctantly congratulated Rey afterward.
WINNER: Rey Mysterio in 3:00.
STAR RATING: * — Excellent while it lasted, but disappointingly short. It’s good to end matches now and again in unexpected fashion as it establishes that early near falls count, but these two should have been given ten minutes to shine. Management must’ve lacked faith these two babyfaces could hold the audience against each other.
-WWE Fact: WWE offers all U.S. military personnel free tickets to it’s live events in the U.S.
-Lilian Garcia introduced Mr. Kennedy and Eve Torres. Kennedy did his “Mis-sterr Kennedy!” bit with a lowered mic. Nominees: Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WM24, the 2008 Royal Rumble match, Undertaker vs. Edge in a Hell in a Cell at SummerSlam, and Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair at WM24. Michaels-Flair won, deservedly so. Michaels came out to accept the award. Michaels said he didn’t konw where to begin. He said he’s had the privilege of being part of some of the most memorable moments and matches in WWE, but his match against Flair will always hold a very special place in his heart. He said Flair is not just his friend, but the man who inspired him to get into this profession. He said he knows Flair is watching, and he wanted him to know Flair meant what he said. “I do love you, and that is why this award as it sits on my mantle, will always be a wonderful reminder…” JBL interrupted. I thought he was going to ask why Michaels got the trophy for his mantle and not Flair. Instead, he grabbed the trophy and said as far as he is concerned, his beating Cena at the Great American Bash is the Match of the Year. He said this aware will go well with his other accolades in his penthouse apartment in New York City. Michaels stood there and let JBL walk away with his trophy, his head hanging like a coward.
-Ring intros took place for the two-on-three match.
[End Hour Two]
6 — BATISTA & TRIPLE H vs. CODY RHODES & MANU & RANDY ORTON
When Triple H and Batista knocked Cody and Manu out of the ring
, Orton snuck up behind them. They caught onto it, though, and turned. He slinked out of the ring immediately. They cut to an early break at 2:00.
Orton did the Orton Stomp all over Hunter’s body. Orton tagged in Cody. He worked over Hunter until Hunter countered a bulldog. Cody craled over to hot-tag Manu while Hunter hot-tagged Batista. Batista dominated Manu out of the gate and hit a spinebuster. He shook the top rope and set up a BatistaBomb. As Cody leaped off the top rope, Batista threw Manu at Cody. He clotheslined Cody in the corner, then clotheslined Manu in the opposite corner. Orton snuck in and surprised Batista with an RKO attempt. Hunter broke it up and then clotheslined Manu over the top rope. Batista then set up Orton for a batista Bomb. Cody broke that up. Orton suddenly surprised Batista with an RKO for the win. Ross said, “I think we just saw the evolution of Legacy, here on Monday Night Raw.”
WINNERS: Orton & Cody & Manu in 10:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Solid basic match.
-Cole plugged Cena vs. Edge.
-A commercial aired for Mr. Kennedy’s new movie coming out on DVD on Jan. 6, 2009. It’s a boost to any WWE talent who are put in a movie trailer in a starring role, so this doesn’t harm Mr. Kennedy even though it’s a “straight-to-DVD” movie.
-Lilian introduced Ron Simmons and Mickie James. Mickie said, “There’s just one word to introduce this next category.” He wouldn’t say it. Nominees for Damn Moment of the Year: Khali’s Kiss Cam, Punk Surprises Chavo with a Guitar Over the Head, Jim Ross as a Sailor on Halloween, Santino’s Split Goes Splat. This should have been a WWE.com exclusive. The Khali Kiss Cam won. Simmons still hadn’t said anything yet. Khali walked out wearing a suit. Lawler said he cleans up nice. Khali gave a speech. Sanjin Singh translated. He said people shouldn’t be obsessed with material possessions and awards are frivilous. He said it’s more important to focus on material resources so our children will have a brighter tomorrow. Mickie moved toward him and accepted a kiss. Jillian Hall walked out singing poorly. As she sang, Funaki, Howard Finkle, and a clean-shaved Sgt. Slaughter walked out in costume. Simmons then exclaimed: “Damn!”
-Cole again plugged Cena vs. Edge. Lawler plugged the Superstar of the Year nominees list.
-Lawler and Cole were shown on camera. They plugged the Slammy Awards and WWE.com. R-Truth’s rap then kicked in. He sang his way through the crowd. Not sure who was worse – him or Jillian. He was more in tune, but she was more on beat.
7 — DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. R-TRUTH
R-Truth danced and gyrated and hip-thrusted in response to Ziggler’s handshake offer. Truth and Ziggler blew a spot. No idea what they were trying to do, but Truth flipped between the second and top rope to the floor awkwardly. Ross said, “I’ve met Dolph Ziggler eight times today.” Good line. At 3:00 Killings knocked Ziggler to the mat, then slingshotted himself into Diggler on the floor. As Killings was about to re-enter the ring, Ziggler kicked him to the floor and then rolled into the ring to beat the count. Afterward, Ziggler said, “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m the winner, Dolph Ziggler.”
WINNER: Ziggler via countout in 4:00.
STAR RATING: * — We don’t see many countouts. That was well-timed. Ziggler has some potential to be a fun character, but his upside seems limited. We’ll see.
-A commercial aired for the Dec. 20 “Tribute to the Troops” on NBC.
-WWE Fact: WWE has produced 11 DVDs that have hit no. 1 on the sports chart this year, more than the NFL, UFC, NBA, NHL, and the Olympics combined. If WWE had its way, though, they wouldn’t be listed on the “sports” chart since they’re “entertainment.”
-Stephanie McMahon stood at the podium to announce the Superstar of the Year Award. Winner: Chris Jericho. Who decides these awards, anyway? Jericho said, “First of all…” He stopped as the crowd booed him and walked to the ring instead, with his statue in hand. The crowd continued to boo. He said was ecstatic that the fans couldn’t cast votes. He said they’re mindless sheep, steered into whatever direction they’re pointed in, biased, easily influenced, and do not have the capabilities to decide something like this fairly. “And you know it’s true,” he said. He said he knew he was going to be Superstar of the Year. He said at Armageddon, he will regain what is his. He said in his feud with Michaels, he lost an identity. He said after throwing Michaels’s head through the Jeritron, he dropped a facade he created to please the fans. He called it an albatross hanging over his head for a decade, and losing it was one of the best feelings he’s ever had. He said he was becoming what Cena is today, a “pandering, patronizing sycophants who wants please all of you, and it makes me sick.” He said they’re all lying, cheating hypocrites. He said he’s closing out his banner year of 2008 by defeating Cena this Sunday at Armageddon and once again wearing the World Championship around his waist.
Cena’s music interrupted. Ross said that music says it all. Jericho disrespectfully threw his statue to the mat. Cena charged into the ring. Jericho bailed out into the crowd. Edge’s music then played. He walked out wearing the WWE Title belt.
8 — EDGE vs. JOHN CENA
Some fans booed Cena’s initial flurry of offense. He clotheslined Edge over the top rope. They cut to a very early break.
Back in the ring Edge had Cena in an inverted chinlock. They showed a clip of Edge snapping Cena’s neck backwards over the top rope. Edge set up a Spear, but Cena came back with flying shoulder tackles and a side slam. He looked to the crowd, got a mixed reaction, and then signaled for “You Can’t See Me.” The crowd said it out loud as he waved his hand. He set up an FU. Edge escaped. Cena went for it again. Edge esecaped. And again. Cena escaped. Edge rolled him up. Cena powered out and applied an STFU mid-ring. Cena released the hold to go after Jericho, who showed up at ringside. They brawled into the crowd.
WINNER: Edge via countout (presumably) at 8:00.
STAR RATING: * — Not a lot to it until the non-finish.
-Triple H attacjed Edge in the ring. Jeff Hardy then jumped Triple H and Edge. Tazz said, “This is awesome, man!” Triple H came back and knocked Hardy to the floor, then clotheslined Edge over the top rope to the floor. Hardy hit Edge with a running dropkick at ringside as Triple H watched from inside the ring. The announcers closed with a hard-sell of Armageddon