Full credit: James Caldwell, PWTorch.com
WWE Raw Live Report
December 15, 2008
The show started with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler setting the stage the night after Armageddon with Cole saying the ending left everyone speechless. “FINALLY!” was the headline for Jeff Hardy winning the WWE Title. And Shawn Michaels is broke, according to Cole. Lawler recapped Miz & Morrison winning the World tag titles over the weekend and the re-match is tonight. But, first, divas action.
In-ring: Kelly Kelly started things off, then Melina came out for the babyface tandem. Santino then led Women’s champion Beth Phoenix and Jillian Hall out to the ring as the opposition. Sure looked like a female plant was in the crowd with a pro-Beth Phoenix sign wanting a picture with Beth. Santino was given the responsibility of taking the shot, which he reluctantly agreed to do before flinging the camera back to her. That was odd.
1 — KELLY KELLY & MELINA vs. Women’s champion BETH PHOENIX & JILLIAN HALL
Early on, a handful of hair on Kelly by Beth put Kelly on the mat to set up Jillian on the offensive attack. Kelly then flipped out of a side slam, but Jillian cut her off. Jillian then directed her attention to Melina and Kelly rolled her up from behind for the win.
Post-match: Beth and Jillian pounced on Kelly to beat her down after knocking Melina off the apron. Suddenly, Kane’s music hit and the pyro freaked out Beth and Jillian. The divas split, then Kane stood over Kelly’s fallen body. Kelly woke up and realized what was going on, so she slowly crawled away. Kane matched her inch by inch until leaning down to slowly extend his hand. Kelly breathed heavily, but then slid out of the ring to escape Kane. Kane didn’t like that, so he took off after Kelly, who walked backwards up the entrance ramp to the backstage area. Kane chased after her inch by inch until they faded to break.
WINNERS: Kelly & Melina in 2:00. Melina was apparently flown into Pittsburgh for her entrance only, as she saw zero action tonight. Post-match was um…wait for a follow-up. (1/2*)
Announcers: Cole and Lawler described the disturbing ending to the previous segment. Lawler said they just don’t know what Kane’s intentions are. During the break, cameras followed the action where Kelly hurriedly walked away, past Jamie Noble and D-Lo Brown. Kane shoved Noble aside when Kelly bumped into Noble, then Kane finally found Kelly, who was cowering in a corner near a window. “We need to talk,” Kane told a freaked out Kelly.
In-ring: After a pause for quiet, Rey Mysterio’s music hit. He came to the ring while Manu and Cody Rhodes were shown sitting ringside for a closer look at some action here. Lawler said he would have bet the house Rey’s nose was broken after the G2S last night. Cole said he’s just sore. Meanwhile, Deuce was already in the ring as the opposition. Deuce looking very generic in his all-black tank top and shorts. He took the mic and said in a serious tone that he is the son of WWE Hall of Fame Jimmy Snuka, so he wants to be introduced by his real name. His real name is Sim Snuka. Rey was like aight. Apparently he wants to be part of the Legacy group.
2 — REY MYSTERIO vs. SIM SNUKA
Snuka went right after Rey while Manu looked carefully, scouting Snuka for potential inclusion in their group. Rey made a comeback at 2:00 with a head scissors, then Snuka caught him off the ropes and threw him high into the air. Snuka then followed with a leaping knee smash to the bridge of the nose for a two count. Nice sequence. Snuka started arguing with the ref, though, which allowed Rey to come back with an elbow smash and high kick. Rey then wanted the 619, but Snuka moved. Rey then followed with a seated plancha on the floor that took out Snuka. Cody hopped up to his feet and shoved Rey, which led to an attack on Rey with the match thrown out.
Rey then slid out of the ring for safety, but Mike Knox attacked Rey from behind. Kids screamed in horror as Knox grappled Rey and gave him the Knox Out on the floor. So, is he the son of Bruiser Brody or Hillbilly Jim? Apparently he’s not part of the Legacy group, as the 2Gers walked away. Fans were not happy with Knox and they let him know about. Boo and hiss. Dang that Knox. After a replay of the post-match, Knox was shown still standing over Rey and glaring at no one in particular.
WINNER: Rey via DQ in 3:00. Good development with Knox actually being physical to advance the storyline attack on the not-yet-named Cruiserweight division. Deuce…er…Hijo del Snuka looked impressive for a few moments without the Greasers gimmick holding him back. (*)
DX promo: Brokeass Shawn Michaels and Triple H were back for another DX merchandise promo for Shopzone. They talked about it being chilly in some parts of the world, so it’s best to dress warm. Hunter busted out a DX hooded sweatshirt and Michaels said the key to cold weather is lots and lots of layers. So, he also wears the DX t-shirt. Michaels then pulled out a King of Kings plush bear. He said it was from the Conan the Bar-bear-ian gimmick. Hunter wasn’t amused. Hunter then pulled out the HBK Village People bear and made a joke about the hair plugs.
Announcers: Lawler and Cole said those DX pieces were filmed a few weeks ago, and they’ve now discovered Michaels is completely broke and he has a new boss. Cole plugged Armageddon footage later tonight confirming HBK is an employee of JBL.
Backstage: Kelly Kelly and Kane were going to play poker. Maybe not. Kane sat Kelly down in this dark room and reminded Kelly when she said love is a wonderful thing. Kelly reasoned she was just presenting a Slammys award. Kane then cut a promo that a lot of people have messed with his mind over the years and he won’t take it. He told Kelly to leave if she doesn’t feel anything for him. She started to get up, then Kane shoved the door closed and said he knew she felt something for him. Kane then stood over Kelly, who shook with fear. Great, another “kidnap and emotionally torture storyline” with Kane.
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in Randy Orton, who demanded TV time to speak. He said he challenged Batista to a re-match from last night, but he has yet to hear a reply. Orton said he’s a coward. Batista then showed up and asked Orton if he wanted an answer. Orton slapped him instead, then Batista chased him backstage, then to the entrance area. It was a trap, as Cody and Manu showed up to give Batista a beating. Orton landed a few blows until John Cena suddenly ran down the ramp and attacked Legacy. Cena cleaned house, except for Orton, who was shown standing on the ramp with that look on his eyes. Orton stared down at Cena, who stood next to Batista to help him while girls screamed “Oh my God, it’s Cena!” Cena smiled and Batista found his feet as they cut to break.
Backstage: Batista shook Cena’s hand and thanked him for the save. Cena said he’s got beef with them from two weeks ago, so no sweat. Batista started to talk about being #1 contender to Cena, but Grisham interrupted and said Stephanie McMahon booked a handicap match with Orton & Cody & Manu vs. Batista & Cena. Grisham scampered away, then Batista said they would pick up the conversation later.
Already in the ring: Hacksaw Duggan waving around the 2×4. Chris Jericho’s music hit, then Jericho slowly walked to the ring dressed in a suit. Lawler was puzzled. Cole said it was supposed to be a singles match here. Duggan was lost. Or maybe he was looking normal. Jericho walked right up to Duggan while Lilian tried to explain he has a match. Jericho then took the mic from her and stared down Duggan.
Jericho began that he’s refusing to wrestle tonight. “I am the 2008 Superstar of the Year,” he said to boos. “And I have been carrying this show single-handedly on my back for the past 12 months and it’s a slap in my face that I have to compete against somebody like you.” Jericho said if LeBron James misses the game-winning shot, he doesn’t get banished to the end of the bench the next night. He said he’s the best at what he does and he refuses to perform against a bottom-of-the-barrel talent like Duggan. Jericho said it demeans him and he refuses to step into the ring again until he gets another title shot or a match worthy of his caliber. Jericho dropped the mic and walked away before slipping out of the ring. Duggan was near tears. I think. Jericho smugly walked out of the ring while Lawler said that’s just wrong with a total lack of respect for Duggan. Cole added, “And the WWE Universe.” Ugh.
Backstage: Kane still had Kelly locked up in the closet asking her if she wants to get him better. She said no. Kane asked if there’s someone else. She nodded her head yes before Kane demanded to know who. Kelly wouldn’t say. He demanded an answer, but Kelly sniffled, breathed heavily, and produced a few tears, then they cut to break.
Backstage: Kelly apparently told Kane who her man is during the break, as Kane told her she did the right thing by telling him. Kane started to leave, but Kelly called out not to hurt him. Kane paused and stared back at her before beginning to laugh. Kane: “As you said, love is a wonderful thing.” He laughed, then left. Kelly was shown holding herself in fear.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia introduced the 2008 King of the Ring William Regal. Regal, in a suit, then came out on stage with the elegant Layla holding the IC Title belt. Regal sat down on his KOTR throne on stage, then C.M. Punk came out and stared him down before going to the ring for the tag title match. Before Kofi Kingston came out, Cole and Lawler recapped the Rey vs. Punk classic from Armageddon last night. Punk gets Regal for the belt. Date TBA. Kofi “the Dragon” Kingston followed out to join Punk. Cole and Lawler then recapped Miz & Morrison winning the tag titles on Saturday in Ontario. Kofi was not happy looking at that footage on the Titantron. Punk tried to get his head back in the game before Miz & Morrison came out to defend the straps. Cole then reset the show and welcomed us to WWE Universe. LOL.
3 — World tag team champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. C.M. PUNK & KOFI KINGSTON
Back and forth start here. Meanwhile, Cole said Regal’s goal is to bring prestige back to the IC Title. Good. Cole said WWE is the longest-running episodic TV show, beyond Gunsmoke and such. And Punk fashions himself as a maverick. Bad. Punk then chased Miz around the ring, kicked Morrison away, then hit a swinging neckbreaker on Miz for a two count. Deal broke down at 3:00, then Kofi cleared the heels to the floor and teased a big dive. Miz and Mo thought they were in the clear, but Kofi flipped Punk over the top rope with a splash on the champs before they cut to break.
Breaking News: Heels in control out of the break after babyfaces got their shine leading to the break. Kofi escaped a chinlock from Morrison and we had an early hot tag to Punk, who nearly bridge-pinned Miz before Miz blocked a springboard smash and went on the attack. The champs then tried to set up a Doomsday Device on Punk, but Punk fought off Morrison and found himself on the top rope for a superplex on Miz. Nice spot. Punk wanted the hot tag to Kofi at 10:00, and he got it.
Morrison tried to cut off Kofi, but Kofi came off the top with a hot splash before nailing a leaping dropkick and clothesline. Kofi marched around the ring, then nailed the boom-boom leg drop for a two count. Kofi followed with a sick Russian legsweep, and Miz broke up a pin. Whole deal broke down, then Punk splashed Miz on the floor. Kofi and Morrison legal and in the ring. Kofi then bridged Morrison, but JoMo slipped out.
Kofi then missed with a big turnaround splash and Morrison followed with a decisive springboard kick for the finish, but Punk broke up the pin. Miz then shoved Punk out of the ring. Things broke down, then Kofi found himself on the wrong end of Moonlight Drive from Morrison, who made the pin for the win.
WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 12:00 to retain the World tag team titles. Heck of a tag team match. When WWE rarely features those independent style tag matches where they inevitably break down into Texas Tornado action for no rhyme or reason, it actually means something to enhance the drama of a tag match. Miz & Morrison were great, as expected, and Kofi looked better than he has in months. (***)
[Q5 — second hour]
Post-match: Kane’s music hit and he came out on stage. Regal freaked out, but Kane kept on walking. He then approached all four men in the ring and turned his attention to Miz, who took a boot to the gut and a chokeslam before nailing a big Tombstone Piledriver. The lights went down and out, then Kane walked out of the ring leaving Miz staring up at the lights. Apparently Kelly and Miz are a couple? Or Kelly is smarter than we think and she planted Miz’s name to have him beat up?
Ringside: Various members of the Pittsburgh Steelers were shown ringside beating themselves up. Save it for the field, fellas! … On cue, former college footballer JBL stepped out on stage and invited us to watch the comments made by his newest employee, Shawn Michaels. Okay, question. Is this a partnership, LLC, LLP, corporation, S-Corp, or sole proprietorship with Michaels merely scrubbing the toilets? We need answers. JBL then rolled footage from last night at Armageddon when Vince McMahon got his point across to Hogan and Flair through Michaels’s scripted promo.
After Michaels’s entire PPV promo on losing his money and going flat broke aired, JBL was shown standing smugly on stage again. He didn’t say anything.
Locker room: Candice Michelle and Mickie James approached Kelly, who was zipping up her sweater and in a hurry to get the heck out of Pittsburgh. They asked if she was all right and if he hurt her. They were, of course, more concerned about Kelly holding back pertinent info about a relationship with Miz. “The Miz? Ugh.” Kelly said with a deep sigh before storming off. Candice and Mickie then followed after her to see if she was all right.
In-ring: The winner Dolph Ziggler was already in the ring out of the break. After Lilian Garcia announced his name, Dolph accepted the stick and allowed himself to introduce himself. Fans didn’t appreciate the introduction without a “Hello My Name Is…” sticker. Lilian then introduced Santa Clause, hailing from the South Pole. Out walked Santa Claas, per the graphic, with a bag slung over his shoulder. Haas handed out presents to kids ringside while Cole plugged SD/ECW taping in Baltimore tomorrow night featuring the new WWE champ. Ticket sales must be sluggish. Cole demanded a present while some greedy kids fought over the gifts. Haas finally made his way into the ring while Dolph shot him an eyebrow or three. Dolph then extended his hand, but Haas handed him the cover to a box instead and Dolph demanded the match to start.
4 — DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. SANTA CLAAS
“Santa, Santa” chant to start things, then Cole: “Santa may have the home field advantage in the Igloo.” Oh Lord help us. Haas, with a big fat gut, landed a big splash in the corner to start things off, but Dolph snapped off a dropkick that rocked Haas’s beard. Dolph followed with a leaping elbow drop for a two count. Haas did the big elbow combo to escape a chinlock while Lawler went to his bag of Mae Young jokes. Have to clear the cobwebs every few months. Fans tried to rally behind Santa Haas while Dolph continued to work his faux beard into his mouth. Lawler said it’s kind of surreal.
Santa Haas appeared to be tapping out from a chinlock, which would have been a first and orgasmic for Randy Orton, but Haas escaped and avoided an elbow drop. Haas then ripped off the beard and Santa’ed up with left hand jabs and a dropkick. Haas charged Dolph in the corner before missing a second corner splash and he walked into a leaping neckbreaker for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Dolph tried to ruin every Cena fan’s night by tearing apart Santa Haas until ref Marty stopped him from ripping out the stuffing from Haas’s suit. Dolph finally had enough for one night and left the ring satisfied with himself. Where’s Sting to beat some respect into him?
WINNER: Dolph in 4:00. Dolph remained impressive despite having to drag Santa around the ring for four minutes. In all seriousness, if that’s possible, Haas worked pretty well in the suit during the “WWE Kids Rulz” portion of the show.
Sneak Peek: Mr. Kennedy narrated some clips from the “Behind Enemy Lines” DVD coming out in January. Kennedy said the prankster who cracks jokes to break the tension during battles.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler talked about Jeff Hardy finally winning the WWE Title and this Friday night, Hardy makes his first appearance ever as WWE champion. Still to come on Raw: Cena & Batista vs. Team Legacy.
Backstage: Hacksaw Duggan sat idly on his 2×4 looking dejected. Cryme Tyme then walked up to him and quietly said it’s time. They walked off with him.
Stephanie’s Office: Chris Jericho asked Stephanie McMahon why she wanted to see him. She said she doesn’t appreciate the stunt he pulled out there. Jericho shot back that Hacksaw isn’t worthy of his stature. Stephanie “If I tell you to dance, I expect you to dance.” Jericho said he doesn’t think she’s much of a boss. He then talked about Batista’s re-match contender’s clause already expiring.
Stephanie said that doesn’t matter and she knows everything about her Superstars. Plus, she’s booking four singles matches next week (Dec. 22) featuring eight former World champions. Winners of those four face off in a fatal four-way elimination the following week (Dec. 29) with the winner getting Cena for the World Title at the Royal Rumble.
Stephanie said she was trying to do Jericho a favor by booking him in a warm-up match. Jericho said he doesn’t need a warm-up match against anyone. Stephanie told Jericho the next time he has an issue, he better come to her first and not make a spectacle of himself on national TV. Steph said if he tries that again, she’ll make sure he never has another match worthy of Superstar of the Year. Jericho smirked and unflinchingly walked away.
Backstage: Cody and Manu were trying to discuss their failed plan earlier, then Randy Orton stepped in and said if they don’t get their act together and take out Batista, then their group is over. He walked off in a huff.
In-ring: Batista came out 25 minutes prior to the top of the hour for the main event handicap match. Break for Guitar Hero promo no. 1,848.
In-ring: Batista warmed himself up in the ring as they recapped events involving the Legacy earlier in the show. After a pause, John Cena’s music hit to a huge reaction. Cena stormed the ring while Batista clapped it up for him, then Cena posed for the audience and held the World Title belt high in the air. Randy Orton’s music hit, then Orton slowly – and I mean slowly – led out Cody and Manu for the main event. They managed to stretch out Batista’s ring intro to the opening bell a full ten minutes.
5 — World Hvt. champion JOHN CENA & BATISTA vs. LEGACY (RANDY ORTON & MANU & CODY RHODES)
Really crisp action to start things off. After Manu and Cena opened the match, Cody entered and began taking a pounding from the babyface tandem. Cena and Batista worked in and out of the ring before Cody caught Batista off the ropes with a double sledgehammer. Randy Orton, after doing some player-coaching, tagged in and quickly took a clothesline from Batista. Batista missed with another clothesline and Orton capitalized by tackling Batista and stomping him in the gut. Grab a break.
Back from break, the Legacy dominated Batista and worked him over from head-to-toe before Cena got the inevitable hot tag at 12:00. Manu was the legal man and he accepted the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He was in position for the FU, but Cody dropkicked Cena and Manu fell on top of Cena’s previously injured neck. Cena sold a neck injury as he shook and tried to Cena Up on Orton, who nailed him with an uppercut before stomping on him. Cena was then hung out across the middle rope and he nailed the horizontal spike DDT for a two count.
[Q9 — over-run]
At the top of the hour, Cena took a pounding with an offensive attack on the neck area. Cena tried a comeback to the delight of the kids, but Cena missed a corner splash. Cody then busted out a moonsault at 16:00 and he connected, with Cena kicking out in time. TV feed broke up momentarily, then Cena made the hot tag to Batista at 17:00 and he cleared Orton off the apron before giving Cody a spinebuster. He called for the end, but Orton shoved Manu into Batista. All heck broke loose, then Orton dropped Batista square on the mat with the RKO.
Cena tried to get back in the ring, but Cody and Manu held him back and beat him down on the floor. Orton then shoved the ref away and wanted Batista for The Punt. Ref Chiota called for the bell to toss this one out, then Orton lined up Batista and kicked him square in the head. Batista slumped down, then did a little shake to sell spasms from being rocked. Crowd response was pretty intense here, by the way.
Cena saw what happened, then he fought off Legacy and slid into the ring to stand over Batista’s fallen body. Orton then closely guarded his buddies and they eventually slowly made their way out of the ring after making their point. Cena continued to stand over Batista, who remained KO’ed, then Legacy collectively raised their arms on the floor to loud boos. Refs spilled into the ring to check on Batista, who showed movement as the credits came on the screen. Crowd continued to scream as they faded out.
WINNERS: No Contest in 18:00. Really intense finish and post-match activity, re-establishing Randy Orton as a main event player after he lost last night. That’s called getting your heat back. Cena played his role well as the Star Babyface and Batista worked his style through his limitations in the ring. They created a good TV main event with 20 minutes of overall time and set the stage for next week. Good conclusion to a strong show. (***)