January 18, 2009- January 24, 2009
Welcome to the thirty-eighth 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.
The 817th edition of Monday Night RAW came to you, live, from the Allstate Arena in CM Punk’s hometown of Chicago, IL. Confirmed for RAW was the long-awaited return of Mr. McMahon. The Intercontinental Championship would also be on the line as Chicago’s own CM Punk would challenge William Regal for the title for the third week in the row, only this time it was No Disqualification. RAW would also host the official contract signing for the World Heavyweight Title Match at the Royal Rumble and Rey Mysterio would square off with Mike Knox.
Good Week For: CM Punk (won the Intercontinental Title in his hometown)
Bad Week For: Mr. McMahon (returned to RAW only to be punted in the head by Randy Orton)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: The RAW Roster (to see who is champion and who won the Rumble)
Best Mic Work: Randy Orton
And In Other News…
The night kicked off with a preview for the Royal Rumble Match this Sunday with a 6-Man Over The Top Rope Battle Royal featuring six of the RAW Superstars entered in the Royal Rumble. The Legacy of Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, & Ted DiBiase swept the match as Orton’s proteges eliminated the opposition. The two of them eliminated Kofi Kingston, Ted DiBiase eliminated Santino Marella, Kane put a kink in the "armor" of Orton by eliminating Cody Rhodes, but Ted DiBiase sacrificed himself by eliminating himself and Kane to help Orton win the Royal Rumble Preview Battle Royal.
Five nights before she defends the Women’s Title against Melina, Beth Phoenix soundly defeated Kelly Kelly in a non-title bout.
In the backstage area, Cody Rhodes informed Randy Orton of a rumor that said that RAW General Manager Stephanie McMahon is going to fire Orton tonight!
Also backstage, Santino Marella approaches "The Glamazon" and tells Beth Phoenix that he has a surprise for her. Marella then presents Phoenix’s rabid #1 fan Rosa Mendes. Marella pleads with Phoenix to let Mendes be an "intern". Phoenix says she will think about it. Marella & Mendes then make a plan for Mendes to impress the Women’s Champion.
Randy Orton also confronted Stephanie McMahon about the rumor saying he would get fired. Stephanie put Orton’s mind at ease by telling "The Legend Killer" that she is not going to fire him, so he can stop sucking up by praising her decision to fire Chris Jericho last week. Orton responds by getting in the face of the GM and telling her that she should be the one that is worried about getting fired by her father- Mr. McMahon. Orton also told the boss’ daughter that if her last name was not McMahon, she would be a "complete nobody". The enraged McMahon slapped Orton in response.
Monday night was a big night for CM Punk and Chicago, as the hometown boy defeated William Regal in a No Disqualification Match to win the Intercontinental Title! As if that was not big enough for the new Intercontinental Champion, he was also revealed as a participant in the Royal Rumble Match this Sunday.
The contract signing for the World Heavyweight Championship Match also took place on RAW. Things got heated quickly after both JBL (with Shawn Michaels) & World Heavyweight Champion John Cena signed the contract to make their match official. JBL told "The Champ" that he will win the title this Sunday. Cena responds by calling JBL a "scumbag" and said that he did not want to talk to him, he wanted to talk to Shawn Michaels. JBL states that Michaels is his employee and that Michaels will back him up. Cena said that last week, he did not have a match with a "broken man" like Michaels has been like recently, he had a match with "The Showstopper" and that he seen that Michaels can still make a living doing what he loves and that he does not need to be JBL’s "puppet". JBL retaliates by saying that Michaels is his employee, not a puppet and that JBL knows about Shawn Michaels being "The Showstopper" and "Mr. WrestleMania", as that is why he hired him. JBL says he will get he wants this Sunday- the World Heavyweight Title and that Michaels will also get what he wants- a big paycheck. Shawn Michaels interrupts his employer and tells JBL that he despises himself for working for someone like JBL, but he will continue to do so. HBK tells the champion that he does not live his life and that he is doing what he has to do and if that what he has to do costs Cena the title, then so be it. Cena responds by telling Michaels that he does not believe him and asks Michaels if he wants to be the man who wins the title for JBL. Cena boldly states that when the chips are down, Michaels will not help JBL. Michaels tells Cena that he is sorry that he feels that way. Michaels then fakes Cena out to assist JBL in cheap shotting the champion. HBK then assists his employer in a beatdown of the champion that ends with JBL hitting the Clothesline From Hell on "The Champ". Is this a sign of things to come at the Royal Rumble? Can Cena overcome both JBL & Shawn Michaels to retain his title or will Michaels get that big paycheck and help JBL win the title?
Before his grudge match with Rey Mysterio, Mike Knox reveals that he does not know why he has been attacking Mysterio and that he has nothing against Rey and that he does not have a reason for the attacks. Well, Knox attacked Rey again in their match, an attack that caused Knox to get disqualified. Mike Knox then laid out Rey yet again.
Backstage, RAW General Manager Stephanie McMahon enters her office to find Chris Jericho sitting there. Stephanie asks the former RAW Superstar what he is doing there. Jericho says that he contacted Mr. McMahon and that the Chairman will give Jericho the opportunity to plead his case in the ring, tonight. Jericho told Stephanie that he will hold nothing back.
World Tag Team Champions, two-time Slammy Award winners, & Royal Rumble participants The Miz & John Morrison also made an appearance, calling out Jim Duggan to face either one of them. Miz & Morrison did not get Duggan, but they got Duggan’s friends and Miz & Morrison’s old nemesis- Cryme Tyme. Shad & JTG challenged "The Dirt Sheet Duo" to a non-title match, where if Cryme Tyme wins, they get a title opportunity in the future, but if Miz & Morrison win, they will be "done" with Cryme Tyme. Shad & JTG were able to defeat the tag champions to earn themselves a future shot at the World Tag Team Titles.
The #1 Contender for the Women’s Title, Melina, was also in action, defeating Jillian. After the match, Beth Phoenix’s new "intern", Rosa Mendes was sent into the ring by Santino Marella to attack Melina. While Melina & Rosa fought, the Women’s Champion threw Rosa off of the #1 Contender and laid out Melina with the Glam Slam. "The Glamazon" then marched angrily to the back, stating that she did not need any help to defeat Melina.
Then it was time for the big moment, the return of the Chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment Mr. McMahon. In a return that left even Dolph Ziggler speechless, "The Boss" returned to Monday Night RAW and said that he was glad to be back, but that tonight was about business. Well, Mr. McMahon got down to business by introducing Chris Jericho. Jericho told the Chairman that while Mr. McMahon was gone, he carried RAW. Jericho implored Mr. McMahon to reinstate him and allow him to compete in this Sunday’s Royal Rumble Match. Mr. McMahon then bring his daughter out- RAW General Manager Stephanie McMahon. Mr. McMahon then says that he thought about reinstating Jericho, but he has decided not to. Mr. McMahon announced that he and his daughter would run RAW together. The elder McMahon then asked Stephanie if she was going to give Jericho a second chance. Stephanie toyed with Jericho by making him apologize to her. Steph then said that it wasn’t good enough and that he needs to get on his knees and apologize to the fans he have berated so much as of late. Jericho relunctantly got on his knees and apologized to the WWE fans for anything he said that might have offended them. Stephanie then told Jericho that she will see him at the Royal Rumble and instructed the newly rehired Jericho to take his leave. Father and daughter then embraced in the ring, only to be interrupted by a seething Randy Orton.. Orton says that there is another apology that needs delivering; one from Stephanie McMahon to him for the slap he received earlier in the night. Orton tells Mr. McMahon to make Stephanie apologize because he is "more important than her" and that since becoming a mother and giving Mr. McMahon grandkids, Stephanie has been "worthless". Mr. McMahon escorted a furious Stephanie out of the ring. Mr. McMahon then demands an apology from Randy Orton for disrespecting his daughter like that. After Orton does not respond, the Chairman informs Orton that he is priveleged to be a part of the WWE and that Randy’s father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton was a mediocre wrestler before Mr. McMahon discovered him and had it not been for the owner, Randy Orton would not be in the WWE today. Mr. McMahon tells Orton to apologize "or else" and says that if Orton refuses, he will terminate him right then and there. Orton tells the Chairman that he does not want to do that. Mr. McMahon responded by telling Orton "you’re…", but before McMahon could say "fired", Orton slapped his boss to the mat and kicked the Chairman in the head, followed by one of his vicious punts to the head of Mr. McMahon. Orton quickly realized what he had just done and quickly backed away from the scene forming in the ring. WWE Officials, paramedics, and an extremely upset Stephanie McMahon tended to the fallen Chairman. After Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase come out to escort their mentor away from the ring, Mr. McMahon gets a cervical collar put on and is placed on a backboard. What is the condition of Mr. McMahon? Also, what will the "condition" be of Randy Orton when Mr. McMahon recovers? What will Stephanie McMahon do to avenge her father’s assault? Has Orton sealed his own fate with a punt that has sealed the fate of so many others?
The 137th edition of ECW on Sci-Fi came to you from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL. Confirmed for the last ECW before the Royal Rumble was a Royal Rumble Preview Match that would see all four ECW participants in the Royal Rumble Match compete in a Fatal 4-Way as Finlay, Mark Henry, The Miz, & John Morrison faced off. Also, we would hear from the new ECW Champion Jack Swagger.
Good Week For: John Morrison (won the Fatal 4-Way main event)
Bad Week For: Matt Hardy (got cheap shotted by the new ECW Champion)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: Jack Swagger & Matt Hardy (to see who emerges as champion)
Best Mic Work: Matt Hardy
And In Other News…
The night started off with the former ECW Champion Matt Hardy. Matt updated everyone on the condition of his brother, Jeff, and revealed that the WWE Champion was in shock following the pyrotechnics explosion and that he suffered first degree burns from the incident, but that he was resting at home in Cameron, NC and that he will be giving an exclusive interview this Friday on SmackDown. Matt then switched gears to Jack Swagger and regaining the ECW Title by saying that he underestimated Jack Swagger and that he was not going to whine and complain, because the bottom line is that he got beat last week and proclaimed that he will regain the ECW Title at the Royal Rumble this Sunday. The new ECW Champion Jack Swagger interrupted and told Matt that he not only will not, but can not take the ECW Title from him and that this Sunday’s rematch is just a "formality". The champion then made it personal by telling Matt that his brother will not be the only one who goes down in flames. This enraged the elder Hardy, who struck the new champion, sending him to the outside. Matt followed Swagger and assaulted him on the ramp until several WWE officials pulled Matt off of Swagger. Swagger then cheap shotted Matt. Has Swagger cost himself the ECW Title by infuriating Matt Hardy and making their rematch at the Royal Rumble personal or will Matt’s blind rage work to the champion’s advantage?
The opening match of the night saw Ricky Ortiz decisively defeat Adam Evans.
Backstage, Paul Burchill barged into the office of ECW General Manager Theodore Long and demanded a rematch against DJ Gabriel. Long told "The Ripper" that he will face whoever Long chooses as his opponent. Well, the GM chose The Boogeyman and Boogeyman got the win over Paul Burchill, but by disqualification after Paul’s sister, Katie Lea Burchill, interfered. Boogeyman caught up with Katie Lea and was about to "worm" her, when brother Paul came to the rescue, sparing his sister the humiliation she would no doubt suffer.
The main event was a Fatal 4-Way Royal Rumble Preview Match that saw World Tag Team Champion John Morrison defeat Finlay, Mark Henry, & fellow World Tag Team Champion The Miz. "The Guru of Greatness" took advantage of a Celtic Cross by Finlay to pin his own tag team partner, The Miz, giving his partner a very important lesson about the Royal Rumble Match- it’s every man for himself.
Good Week For: Vickie Guerrero (finally got to see Triple H punished)
Bad Week For: Matt Hardy (got picked apart by Edge, Mark Henry, & ECW Champion Jack Swagger)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: The SmackDown Roster (to see who is WWE Champion & who won the Rumble)
Best Mic Work: Jeff Hardy
And In Other News…
The night started with a couple of announcements regarding WWE Champion Jeff Hardy and the unfortunate pyrotechnics accident that occurred last week. J.R. revealed that after the accident was investigated, it turns out there was foul play involved as the investigation showed that someone had tampered with Jeff’s pyro, resulting in the explosion. The other announcement was that Jeff Hardy has vowed to be in Detroit for the Royal Rumble and will defend the WWE Title against Edge.
Speaking of the #1 Contender, Edge came out and once again denied the allegations that he is responsible for Jeff’s "accidents" as of late. Edge tells the champion that Jeff has made the biggest mistake of his life by deciding to defend the title against him this Sunday and that this mistake will cost Jeff the WWE Title. Edge says that a true champion, like himself, is defined by sacrifice and not taking shortcuts. "The Rated-R Superstar" added that he does not need to cause these "accidents" in order to beat Jeff Hardy. Jeff’s brother Matt then ran in and attacked Edge, sending him out of the ring. Matt continued pounding Edge and Edge escaped through the crowd. Later on in the evening, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero informed her husband, Edge, that he will be facing Matt Hardy one-on-one tonight in a No Disqualification Match, much to the chagrin of Edge.
In a rematch from a few weeks ago, The Undertaker defeated United States Champion Shelton Benjamin in a non-title match.
The Great Khali & Chavo Guerrero were both announced for the Royal Rumble Match this Sunday and this two also faced off against each other in a bout that saw "The Punjabi Playboy" decisively beat "The Mexican Warrior".
SmackDown also saw the return of Divas Champion Maryse. Maryse made her first appearance as Divas Champion after winning the title almost a month earlier. Maryse sat in on commentary as the former Divas Champion Michelle McCool teamed up with Natalya to take on The Bella Twins. However, another Diva made a surprise return and attacked Michelle McCool in the middle of the match. It was none other than the Diva that Michelle McCool attacked following her loss of the Divas Title a month ago; the Special Referee in that match- Maria. McCool and Maria brawled to the outside, right in front of the Divas Champion and, as Maryse looked on, Natalya & Michelle McCool double-teamed Maria and McCool once again kicked Maria in the head.
SmackDown also featured an exclusive interview conducted with WWE Champion Jeff Hardy earlier this week. The champion started off by revealing that the "accidents" that have been happening to him were not accidents at all, but they was done intentionally by someone and Jeff said he knew who was responsible- Edge. Jeff tells Edge that he has made the ultimate mistake and that he will not stop Jeff Hardy. Jeff caps it off by asking Edge, "are you afraid?".
It was a No Disqualification "Battle of the #1 Contenders" as the #1 Contender for the WWE Title Edge took on the #1 Contender for the ECW Title Matt Hardy with a whole lot of personal animosity in the mix. The two bitter rivals fought tooth and nail, but the whole thing came together for Edge when Mark Henry attempted to attack Matt Hardy, but Matt foiled the plan of Henry. However, he did not see Jack Swagger coming. The new ECW Champion laid out his challenger this Sunday with his patented powerbomb, followed by the World’s Strongest Slam by Mark Henry. Jack Swagger & Mark Henry held up Matt Hardy for a vicious Spear by Edge, giving Edge the win.
In a battle of the tag team champions, World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison defeated WWE Tag Team Champions Primo & Carlito in the non-title bout to earn the bragging rights and pick up momentum heading into the Royal Rumble Match this Sunday.
It was then time for the main event as two of the favorites in the Royal Rumble Match- Triple H & Vladimir Kozlov squared off. However, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero had another ace up her sleeve for "The Cerebral Assassin" as she interrupted the one-on-one match and announced that the match was now a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. She then introduced Vladimir Kozlov’s partner- the "World’s Largest Athlete" and the man who Triple H hit in the back of the head with a sledgehammer last week- Big Show. The two monster men dominated Triple H and ultimately pinned "The Game", much to the delight of Vickie Guerrero. What kind of shape will Triple H be in this Sunday in the Royal Rumble Match? Has Vickie succeeded in keeping the 12-time World Champion from winning the Royal Rumble Match and heading to WrestleMania? Triple H will no doubt be in the Royal Rumble Match, but is he in any condition to outlast the other competitors and win it? He’s done it before, but will Vickie have some more roadblocks for Triple H this Sunday? Also, what about WWE Champion Jeff Hardy? What kind of condition will he be in this Sunday? Since become champion, Jeff has been involved in a hit-and-run and a pyrotechnics "accident". Jeff says that both were intentional and he claims that Edge is the culprit. With all these emotional and personal factors heading into this WWE Title match, can Jeff concentrate enough to retain the WWE Title or will Edge’s prophecy be fulfilled by winning the WWE Title in Jeff’s first defense?
Superstar of the Week: CM Punk
The Royal Rumble means the annual 30-Man Royal Rumble Match that will see 30 WWE Superstars from RAW, SmackDown, & ECW battle for the opportunity to challenger either the WWE or World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXV. Who will be heading to Houston for WrestleMania this year with a title opportunity? Some participants are veterans in this type of match, like Triple H (who won the Rumble in 2002 and went on to win the WWE Title at WrestleMania), The Undertaker (who won the Rumble in 2007 and went on to remain undefeated and win the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania), & Big Show. However, no one has more Rumble experience than "The Big Red Machine" Kane, who will be competing in his 11th straight Royal Rumble Match this year. Some Superstars will be competing in their first Rumble Match, like Vladimir Kozlov, The Brian Kendrick, Ted DiBiase, & Kofi Kingston. You certainly have to think that Randy Orton is considered a favorite in the match, especially considering that his "Legacy" teammates Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase are also in the match. Maybe Chris Jericho will get his first Rumble win after the tumultuous couple of weeks he has had with RAW General Manager Stephanie McMahon. Let’s not count out "The World’s Strongest Man" Mark Henry, who has been itching for another title opportunity ever since losing the ECW Title in September. Maybe The Miz or John Morrison can shock the world and win the Rumble Match and start off 2009 bigger than their banner year in 2008. As we seen on ECW, John Morrison realizes that it is every man for himself and that may give him an advantage if he is as cunning as he was this past Tuesday night. Perhaps the new Intercontinental Champion CM Punk could win the Rumble and go to WrestleMania to regain the World Heavyweight Title or maybe win the WWE Title for the first time. Speaking of champions, maybe the United States Champion Shelton Benjamin can add more gold to his collection or the unorthodox R-Truth could win it. Maybe even WWE Tag Team Champion Carlito could win the Rumble. Then there’s "The Fighting Irishman" Finlay, could the hard-nosed Irishman win the Rumble? Could Chavo Guerrero prove that he is not a "gopher" by winning the Royal Rumble Match? One has to consider The Great Khali an odds on favorite to win the match based on size alone. What kind of celebration would their be in India if The Great Khali won the Royal Rumble Match?
This Sunday night is not only about the Royal Rumble Match, as four championships will be on the line. One of them will be the WWE Championship when Jeff Hardy makes his first title defense against former champion Edge. How will Jeff fair against "The Rated-R Superstar" given everything that has occurred recently? Edge has certainly proved his reputation as "The Ultimate Opportunist", could Edge opportune his way to another WWE Title reign?
The World Heavyweight Title will also be on the line as John Cena defends the title against John "Bradshaw" Layfield. The X-Factor in this match is no doubt, Shawn Michaels, who is the employee of JBL and will be in the corner of "The Wickedly Wealthy" JBL. After HBK allowed JBL to become the #1 Contender, not to mention lay out "The Champ" during the contract signing, is there anyway that Cena can escape JBL and his employee or will JBL’s "purchase" of Shawn Michaels pay off in the form of the World Heavyweight Title?
The much-anticipated rematch for the ECW Title will also take place as the new champion Jack Swagger takes on the former champion Matt Hardy. Swagger made it personal this past Tuesday night by disrespecting Matt’s brother, Jeff. Has Swagger angered Matt to the point where he cost himself the ECW Title or will Swagger be able to remain undefeated and defeat Matt Hardy for the second time and remain "The Face of the Franchise"?
The Women’s Title will also be on the line as Beth Phoenix defends against Melina. What role will Phoenix’s new "intern" Rosa Mendes play? Not to mention the other half of Glamarella- Santino Marella. Can Melina overcome the power of the champion and regain the Women’s Title?