December 28, 2008- January 3, 2009
Welcome to the thirty-fifth edition of the WWE Week In Review. Feel free to contact me on TWO or Wrestling 101 anytime with comments, questions, and anything in between. Also, check out my blog on Wrestling101.com.
On WWE.com over the weekend, it was announced that, in addition to suffering from a concussion due to a punt by Randy Orton, Batista underwent elective surgery on his hamstring and will be out of action indefinitely.
The Final RAW of 2008 came to you, live, from the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH. Confirmed to RAW’s farewell to 2008 was the "Race To The Rumble" Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match between JBL, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, & Randy Orton. Also, six Divas would do battle in a "Race To The Rumble" Battle Royal to determine who would face Beth Phoenix for the Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble.
Good Week For: JBL ("earned" the right to challenge for the World Title at the Royal Rumble)
Bad Week For: Shawn Michaels (had to give up his shot at the World Title for his employer)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: The RAW Roster (to see how the RAW Superstars kick off 2009)
Best Mic Work: JBL
RAW opened with Rey Mysterio and "The Master of the 619" wasted no time in calling Shawn Michaels to the ring to discuss why HBK cost Rey the chance to challenge for the World Title in favor of helping his boss- JBL. Michaels came out and Rey challenged HBK to a one-on-one match tonight and the winner would advance to the main event to compete in the Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match. Shawn Michaels accepted the challenge, however, JBL came out and stated that, as the employer of Shawn Michaels, HBK can not make a decision until it is run by him. JBL told Rey that HBK’s answer was no and JBL demanded that Shawn Michaels exit the ring and HBK obliged. While Rey pleaded with Michaels to disobey JBL and come back to the ring, Rey was blind-sided by Mike Knox. As Knox assaulted Rey, Michaels tried to help Rey, but JBL prevented Michaels from helping and ordered HBK back to the locker room. However, Rey was saved by the World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, who rid the ring of Mike Knox.
Backstage, Randy Orton gives his teammates a very intriguing ultimatum- Cody Rhodes, Manu, & Sim Snuka must win their singles matches tonight or they will be ousted from "The Legacy".
Cody Rhodes was the first one to compete for his spot in "The Legacy" and, thanks to a timely distraction by the Intercontinental Champion William Regal, Rhodes was able to defeat CM Punk by Count-Out to remain a part of "The Legacy".
On the first RAW of 2009 next week, William Regal will defend the Intercontinental Title against his #1 Contender CM Punk.
In a "Race To The Rumble" Divas Battle Royal, Melina outlasted Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Candice, Jillian, & Katie Lea to win the match and earn the opportunity to challenge Beth Phoenix for the Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble. After the contest, Beth Phoenix & Melina got into a brawl that saw Rosa Mendez, the obsessed #1 fan of "The Glamazon", jump the barricade and shoved Melina off of her idol. Security quickly ejected Ms. Mendez from the arena.
Sim Snuka was also out to prove he belonged in "The Legacy" and did so by defeating "Super Haas" Charlie Snuka. Charlie Haas’ latest impersonation seemed to infuriate the son of the real "Superfly" and despite his best efforts, Haas was defeated by Snuka.
RAW went out of 2008 with a "bang" with a huge 10-Man Tag Match that saw the team of World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, & Cryme Tyme defeat the team of Mike Knox, Kane, Dolph Ziggler, and World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison.
Backstage, Kelly Kelly was shown talking to her love interest and it was revealed to be none other than "The Legend Killer" Randy Orton!
Manu was the last member of "The Legacy" to try and keep his spot. However, a very game ECW Champion Matt Hardy defeated Manu, which ousted Manu from "The Legacy".
It was then time for the much-anticipated "Race To The Rumble" Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match. After eliminating both Chris Jericho & Randy Orton, it was employee facing employer as Shawn Michaels & JBL were the last two men in the match. JBL demanded that HBK "lay down" for him and allow JBL to pin Michaels to head to the Rumble. HBK could not bring himself to sink this low, so he pleaded with his boss to hit him with the Clothesline From Hell. JBL gladly listened and hit Michaels with the Clothesline From Hell and pinned HBK to win the match and head to the Royal Rumble to face John Cena for the World Heavyweight Title.
The Final ECW of 2008 came to you from the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH. Confirmed for the evening was ECW Champion Matt Hardy taking on Mark Henry in a non-title match. Also, World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison would kick off the show with "The Dirt Sheet".
Good Week For: Matt Hardy (won two matches in a row over bigger adversaries)
Bad Week For: John Morrison (got assaulted twice in one night)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: The ECW Roster (to see how ECW kicks off 2009)
Best Mic Work: John Morrison
The Final ECW of 2008 kicked off with "The Dirt Sheet" two-time Slammy Award Winners and reigning World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison ran down several members of the WWE Roster and got into an argument with each other over who would win the Royal Rumble Match, but it was after making fun of Finlay & Hornswoggle, that the Irish Duo made their way to the ring. Obviously not amused, Finlay clocked John Morrison with a microphone. However, this warranted The Miz to get involved and Miz & Morrison assaulted Finlay. "The Dirt Sheet Duo" then set their sites on Hornswoggle. Miz chased Hornswoggle, who took refuge under the ring. Miz attempted to retrieve Hornswoggle, but was instead met by The Boogeyman. Boogeyman scared off Miz & Morrison and stood proud in the ring with Finlay & Hornswoggle.
The opening match of ECW saw ECW Champion Matt Hardy defeat Mark Henry by disqualification in a non-title bout. Both men fought back-and-forth and Tony Atlas even got involved. However, in the middle of the contest, the #1 Contender for the ECW Title Jack Swagger made his presence known by interrupting the match and laying out the champion with his Blue Thunder Bomb. "The All-American American" backed away with his Cheshire grin. One man who was not amused was "The World’s Strongest Man" Mark Henry, who shot daggers at the young superstar.
DJ Gabriel was also in action and, after getting dominated for most of the match, was able to roll up RAW’s Paul Burchill to pick up the win.
The main event was a No Disqualification non-title tag match pitting The Miz & John Morrison against the very bizarre combination of Finlay & The Boogeyman. Hornswoggle get some of the tag champions as well. However, the beating sustained by Miz & Morrison was too much for Finlay and John Morrison rolled up "The Fighting Irishman" for the win. After the match, Boogeyman assaulted John Morrison and Finlay laid out Morrison with the Celtic Cross before Miz pulled his partner out of the ring. Finlay & Hornswoggle then celebrated with several of the young fans in attendance in a pre-New Year’s Eve celebration.
The First SmackDown of 2009 came to you from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. Confirmed for the main event was WWE Champion Jeff Hardy & ECW Champion Matt Hardy taking on the team of Edge & Big Show. Also, Kizarny would make his WWE debut.
Good Week For: Matt Hardy (won three consecutive matches on RAW, ECW, & SmackDown)
Bad Week For: Edge (got abandoned by Big Show in the main event)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: Jeff Hardy & Edge (to see what happens in route to the Royal Rumble)
Best Mic Work: Triple H
The show opened with SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero. The GM wasted no time and announced a huge WWE Championship Match for the Royal Rumble as WWE Champion Jeff Hardy will take on Vickie’s husband and former champion Edge. Vickie also revealed that several of SmackDown’s participants in the 2009 Royal Rumble Match would be announced later in the evening. However, as Vickie exited, Triple H made his way to the ring. Triple H humiliated the GM in the middle of the ring and mentioned some nude photographs of Vickie being auctioned off on eBay. This caused Vickie to make a hasty retreat to the back. Later on in the night, Vickie informed Triple H that on next week’s SmackDown, Triple H will compete in "Triple Jeopardy"; meaning that "The Game" will compete in three matches in one night and those matches will be a Tables Match, Handicap Match, & Last Man Standing Match.
The opening match of the night saw the odd team of Finlay & The Great Khali defeat former WWE Tag Team Champions Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder.
In tag team action, The Brian Kendrick & Ezekiel Jackson defeated Jesse & Festus. The Brian Kendrick & Ezekiel Jackson will challenge Primo & Carlito for the WWE Tag Team Titles next week.
"The Undefeated Moscow Mauler" Vladimir Kozlov was also in action, defeating Hurricane Helms.
Several participants in the 2009 Royal Rumble Match were announced. In addition to Triple H, Vladimir Kozlov, The Miz, & John Morrison. The Rumble will also feature Big Show, Shelton Benjamin, R-Truth, & The Undertaker from SmackDown, as well as Randy Orton & Chris Jericho from RAW, & Finlay from ECW. The rest of the participants will be revealed in the coming weeks. After his name was announced, United States Champion Shelton Benjamin interrupted and was chokeslammed by 2007’s Royal Rumble Winner The Undertaker.
SmackDown also saw the debut of Kizarny, who defeated MVP.
Former Divas Champion Michelle McCool also made an appearance. McCool came to the ring and apologized to Maria for her attack last week. McCool then asked Eve to come to the ring so that she could apologize to her as well for verbally assaulting Eve earlier that night. Eve came out and accepted the apology of McCool, but after Eve exited, McCool brutally assaulted Eve just like she did Maria, leaving Eve down on the outside as an unbalanced McCool made her way up the ramp.
The main event of the evening was a special reuniting of The Hardys as WWE Champion Jeff Hardy & ECW Champion Matt Hardy teamed up to face the reluctant team of Edge & Big Show. In the middle of the main event, Big Show unexpectedly abandoned his partner, which led to Jeff Hardy getting the victory over his challenger at the Rumble.
Superstar of the Week: Matt Hardy