This Week In WWE: Edition XXXIX
January 25, 2009- January 31, 2009
Welcome to the thirty-ninth edition of This Week In WWE. 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 22nd Annual WWE Royal Rumble came to you, live on pay-per-view, from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI. Confirmed for the Rumble was the annual 30-Man Royal Rumble Match featuring Superstars from RAW, SmackDown, & ECW. Four championships were also on the line as Jeff Hardy defended the WWE Title against Edge, John Cena defended the World Heavyweight Title against John "Bradshaw" Layfield (with Shawn Michaels in his corner), Jack Swagger made his first defense of the ECW Title against former champion Matt Hardy, & "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix defended her Women’s Title against Melina.
Good Night For: Randy Orton (won the 2009 Royal Rumble)
Bad Night For: Jeff Hardy (got assaulted and lost the WWE Title thanks to his own brother)
It Will Be Interesting This Week For: Randy Orton
And In Other News…
The opening contest was a rematch for the ECW Championship as "The Undefeated All-American American" Jack Swagger defended the ECW Title against former champion Matt Hardy. Similar to how he won the title, Swagger used the ring to his advantage, this time it was the ring post. After sending Matt shoulder and head first into the steel ring post, Swagger hit his patented powerbomb to keep the title.
The Women’s Championship was also on the line as Beth Phoenix defended against Melina. The champion dominated most of the match, but the quicker Melina was able to roll up "The Glamazon" to earn her third Women’s Title.
Then it was time for the much-anticipated World Heavyweight Championship Match that would see John Cena defend the title against John "Bradshaw" Layfield. The interesting factor thrown into this championship match is the fact that JBL’s employee- Shawn Michaels would be at ringside. Earlier in the night, JBL told HBK that if HBK helped him win the World Heavyweight Title tonight that JBL will make sure all of Michaels’ problems are done and then some, as JBL told Michaels that HBK would no longer have to work with him and that JBL would give Michaels all the money that HBK has earned and that will be enough to put Michaels back in good financial shape. In addition to that, JBL vowed to get Shawn Michaels entered into the Royal Rumble Match. However, this was if JBL won the title. Shawn Michaels turned around to come face-to-face with The Undertaker! "The Deadman" told Michaels that "sometimes it’s hell to get to heaven". When it was time for the title to be on the line, HBK did little to help his employer, that was until JBL inadvertently hit the referee with a big boot and both champion and challenger hit each other with a clothesline, leaving them both out in the middle of the ring. Michaels slowly entered the ring and warmed up some Sweet Chin Music and to the shock of everyone in the arena, including John Cena, HBK blasted his employer, JBL, with the superkick! As Cena showed signs of relief, HBK struck the champion with Sweet Chin Music as well! HBK then draped JBL’s arm over the champion and made his exit. By the time a different referee made his way to the ring for the count, Cena was able to kick out of the pinfall attempt. Both men got back to their feet and Cena countered an attempt at the Clothesline From Hell and turned it into the F-U to pick up the win and retain the World Heavyweight Title.
Jeff Hardy was set to defend the WWE Title against #1 Contender and former champion Edge when SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero came out and informed the champion that the match is now no disqualification. As if that new ruling was not enough, Edge was accompanied to the ring by Chavo Guerrero. Jeff & Edge fought each other tooth and nail over the title in the no disqualification environment. Jeff took out Edge’s backup, Chavo Guerrero, by putting the "Mexican Warrior" through the RAW Announce Table off the top of a ladder. Again, it would look like Jeff would retain the WWE Title, but as he started to climb the top turnbuckle for the match-ending Swanton Bomb. Edge’s wife & SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero distracted Jeff. Still, Jeff was able to kick Vickie out of the way and hit the Swanton on Edge. Vickie again interfered on her husband’s behalf; this time interrupting the referee’s three count. Jeff’s brother Matt had seen enough and came to the ring and threw Vickie into the ring so that she could watch the Hardy brothers decimate her husband, Edge. Matt & Jeff had a con-chair-to in mind for "The Rated-R Superstar", but in a major shocker, Matt blasted his own brother in the head with a steel chair! The elder Hardy stood there, expressionless, as a confused Edge pinned Jeff to regain the WWE Title. Why did Matt do this to his brother? Why did he cost his own flesh and blood the most important championship Jeff has ever held? Does this mean that Matt Hardy is responsible for attempting to end the career of Jeff over the past couple of months?
Then it was time for an annual favorite- the Royal Rumble Match. 30 Superstars will enter the match, but the last one standing will head to the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania in Houston to compete in the main event for either the WWE or World Heavyweight Title. Rey Mysterio & World Tag Team Champion John Morrison were the unlucky two to start the match. Carlito made his entrance third, followed by MVP, then The Great Khali. "The Moscow Mauler" was the next entrant in and "The Rough Russian" showed his dominance by single-handedly eliminating The Great Khali! Kozlov followed suit by eliminating MVP & Carlito. The house of fire was extinguished, so to speak, when Triple H entered, eliminating Kozlov. Triple H then ended coming face-to-face with a very familiar foe- his former Evolution teammate and protégé Randy Orton. JTG of Cryme Tyme would make his way into the match, followed by Ted DiBiase, Chris Jericho, "Monstrous" Mike Knox, & World Tag Team Champion The Miz. The Miz did not get a long tenure in the Rumble as Triple H quickly dispatched The Miz, along with his tag team partner and #2 entrant John Morrison. Finlay & Cody Rhodes would also enter before The Undertaker entered and all action in the ring stopped for "The Deadman". Undertaker immediately started throwing hands and bodies all over the ring. Undertaker eliminated JTG. Goldust then entered, followed by the new Intercontinental Champion CM Punk, then the "World’s Strongest Man" Mark Henry, & United States Champion Shelton Benjamin. It did not take long for the Rhodes brothers to notice each other as Goldust & Cody Rhodes faced each other and, on multiple occasions, Goldust tried to eliminate his little brother, but it was a little help from the leader of "Legacy" Randy Orton that allowed Cody to eliminate Goldust. #1 Entrant Rey Mysterio managed to hang in there, even eliminating the gargantuan Mark Henry. Former Intercontinental Champion William Regal then made his entrance into the match and furiously attacked the man who took the title from him- CM Punk. However, Punk again outdid Regal and eliminated the angry ex-champion. "The Jamaican Sensation" Kofi Kingston then made his entrance, followed by "The Big Red Machine" Kane (making his eleventh straight Royal Rumble Match appearance), & R-Truth. The Royal Rumble Match is known for some big surprises and this year was no different as the number 25 entrant was none other than "Mr. Pay-Per-View" Rob Van Dam, who came in and the educated feet were flying as if RVD never left. The Brian Kendrick entered next and quickly eliminated Kofi Kingston. However, Triple H quickly eliminated a celebrating Kendrick. Dolph Ziggler then made a brief appearance as the #27 entrant, but he tried introducing himself to Kane and was eliminated. However, no one made as brief an appearance as Santino Marella. The self-proclaimed "Italian Stallion" made his way into the Rumble Match record books, but not the way he would of liked as he set the new record for the quickest elimination by Kane eliminating Marella in exactly 1.9 seconds! The first Royal Rumble Winner also entered the match- "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Lucky #30 turned out to be a man who needed no luck at all to dominate- Big Show. "The World’s Largest Athlete" did just that by eliminating Jim Duggan, followed by R-Truth, Rey Mysterio, Mike Knox, & CM Punk! Kane then eliminated "The Fighting Irishman" Finlay. Chris Jericho made a big elimination by eliminating the Michigan native- Rob Van Dam. However, Jericho’s excitement did not last long as The Undertaker eliminated Jericho. "The Legacy" of Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, & Ted DiBiase then started to pull together as the numbers slimmed down as they all three eliminated Kane. Orton then eliminated Big Show. A furious Big Show then eliminated The Undertaker and the two brawled through the crowd. Back in the ring, Triple H was stuck with facing all three members of "The Legacy". Triple H weathered the storm and eliminated Ted DiBiase, then Cody Rhodes. However, Randy Orton quickly eliminated "The Game" to become the winner of the 2009 Royal Rumble! Orton will be heading to the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania to main event. One can not forget the events of this past Monday’s RAW when Randy punted the head of the owner- Mr. McMahon. Rumors are swirling that there is set to be retribution placed on Orton. Some say Orton could even be fired! Is Orton safe as the Rumble winner? Will Orton even be employed come WrestleMania? Can even the McMahons keep Orton from headlining in Houston?
The 818th edition of Monday Night RAW came to you, live, from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, OH. Confirmed for the night after the Royal Rumble was an appearance by the winner of the 2009 Royal Rumble Match Randy Orton. Also, the qualifying matches for the Championship Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out would commence. RAW would also host the premiere of the trailer for the film "12 Rounds", starring World Heavyweight Champion John Cena.
Good Week For: Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, & Kofi Kingston (qualified for the Elimination Chamber)
Bad Week For: Randy Orton (got assaulted by Shane McMahon)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: Randy Orton & The McMahons (to see what happens next)
Best Mic Work: Randy Orton
And In Other News…
The night started off with the winner of the 2009 Royal Rumble Match- Randy Orton. However, Orton had to address the business of his actions against WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon last week. Flanked by Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase, Orton also brought his lawyers and his therapist with him to the ring. With plenty of backup, both legal and physical, Orton took out a piece of paper and stated that he had a condition called "IED" or Interminate Explosive Disorder; a mental disorder that causes him to lash out physically when provoked. Orton claimed that he was physically provoked by Stephanie McMahon’s slap last week and that is why he assaulted Mr. McMahon. He also claims that he is not responsible for what happened to the Chairman and revealed that WWE knew he had this condition and did nothing about it. Orton then threatens to sue the WWE if he gets fired. He revealed that he will file one lawsuit for getting fired and he will file another one for "breach of contract" if he is not allowed to compete in the main event at WrestleMania. Orton added to his defense by stating that Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase are ready to quit and walk out of the WWE if Orton is fired. Orton stated that if he, Rhodes, & DiBiase are fired, there will be no quality Superstars on RAW. Orton then states he has one more piece of business. Taking out a separate piece of paper, Orton reads a prepared apology to Mr. McMahon, the McMahon family, and the WWE fans for the trauma of Mr. McMahon. Orton then exits the ring with his entourage as RAW General Manager Stephanie McMahon looks on with pure hatred backstage.
The opening match of the night was for the World Tag Team Titles as The Miz & John Morrison defended the gold against the team that beat them last week for the opportunity- Cryme Tyme. Once again proving why they are the 2008 Tag Team of the Year, the champions retained against Cryme Tyme.
JBL made an appearance and announced that Shawn Michaels will be representing him tonight as Shawn Michaels takes on World Heavyweight Champion John Cena for a spot in the Championship Elimination Chamber Match for JBL. Later on in the backstage area, JBL told Michaels that tonight was his "last chance".
Speaking of the Elimination Chamber Match, Kofi Kingston was able to pull a huge upset win over Kane to be the first to qualify for the Championship Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out.
Chris Jericho also made an appearance on RAW and stated that everyone is raving about the award-winning film "The Wrestler", starring Mickey Rourke. Jericho showed a video of Rourke challenging Chris Jericho to a match at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, revealing that he has been training with three WWE Hall of Famers- Afa of The Wild Samoans, Roddy Piper, & "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Chris Jericho stated that Mickey Rourke and the three Hall of Famers were making a big mistake by offending Jericho. Will we really see actor Mickey Rourke step into the ring with Chris Jericho in Houston?
As a result of being the World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena is automatically in the Elimination Chamber Match as he is the defending champion in the match. However, John Cena was given the opportunity to keep JBL out of the match as he took on JBL’s employee Shawn Michaels. HBK looked poised to win the match for his boss as he was set to climb the top rope. However, JBL got on the apron of the ring and demanded that Michaels go for Sweet Chin Music on "The Champ" and HBK responded by telling JBL that he is going to do it his way. While this argument was going on, Cena recovered and pushed JBL into Shawn Michaels. Cena took advantage and scored with the F-U on Shawn Michaels to prevent JBL from entering the Championship Elimination Chamber Match. Earlier in the evening, JBL told Michaels that tonight was his "last chance". What does this mean for Shawn Michaels?
Backstage, RAW General Manager Stephanie McMahon reveals that she will be taking action against Randy Orton tonight and she is going to do it publicly and to Orton’s face.
The Divas were also in action as new Women’s Champion Melina teamed with Kelly Kelly to take on the former champion Beth Phoenix & Jillian. However, Rosa Mendes made another appearance and pulled Melina off of the apron, giving "The Glamazon" the opportunity to pin Kelly Kelly for the win. Later on in the backstage area, Beth Phoenix told Santino Marella- "we can keep her" in regards to Rosa Mendes.
In an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match, Rey Mysterio defeated former Intercontinental Champion William Regal to secure his spot in the Chamber at No Way Out.
Chris Jericho also made a second appearance, this time to compete against new Intercontinental Champion CM Punk for a spot in the Championship Elimination Chamber Match. Jericho made quite the turnaround from the week he had last week by defeating Punk to head to No Way Out to compete for the World Heavyweight Title in the Elimination Chamber. Who will the final two entrants be when the qualifying matches conclude next week?
Stephanie McMahon came to the ring to address Randy Orton regarding his actions against her father last week. Stephanie stated that if Orton thought any legal threats or half-hearted apologies had worked, he thought wrong. Stephanie then demaned Orton come to the ring so she could tell him what she thought. Orton came to the ring, against accompanied by "The Legacy" and his attorneys and therapist. "The Legend Killer" recomends that Stephanie McMahon makes sure she wants to do this. Orton reiterates that with him, Rhodes, & DiBiase gone, there will be no star power on RAW. One of Orton’s attorneys step in and threatens Stephanie with legal action if she fires Orton. Orton tells the GM that he has a legal right to compete at WrestleMania. Orton promises to not only shut down WrestleMania, but shut down the entire WWE! This brings out every member of the RAW Roster to the stage; who would all be unemployed if Orton did as he promised. Orton told the crowd of Superstars that he does not care about their WrestleMania or their jobs and then Orton decides that is exactly what he wants is to cost all of the WWE Superstars their jobs. Orton then switches gears and repeatedly demands that Stephanie McMahon fire him. Stephanie responds by telling Orton that firing him would be "too easy" and that "they have other plans for him". With that, Shane McMahon comes out and, without saying a word, tackles Randy Orton and attacks "The Legend Killer". However, Orton’s "Legacy" teammates, Rhodes & DiBiase, pull the Executive Vice President of WWE off of their leader, but the tenacious son of the WWE Chairman breaks away several times from the second-generation stars and continues to attack Orton. While Rhodes makes sure Shane is distracted with him, DiBiase tries to rush Orton out of the arena. However, Shane chases after Orton, attacking him again! Finally, the RAW Superstars get involved, seperating Shane from the fray, allowing Orton to escape. After escaping from the Superstars’ grasp, Shane demanded to know where Randy Orton went. Orton escaped Shane McMahon this time, but what about next week or the week after that? What will Orton do when he is faced with Shane yet again? How can Orton possibly focus on main eventing WrestleMania with all this going on? What are the "plans" that Shane & Stephanie have for Orton? Orton is still employed, but the real question is- does he want to be employed now that he has incited the wrath of the McMahon children?
The 138th edition of ECW on Sci-Fi came to you from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, OH. Confirmed for ECW was an appearance by ECW Champion Jack Swagger. Also, two former ECW Champions would square off as ECW Original Tommy Dreamer took on the "World’s Strongest Man" Mark Henry.
Good Week For: Finlay (won a match over Paul Burchill and assaulted the ECW Champion)
Bad Week For: Jack Swagger (had his title belt stolen and got assaulted by Finlay)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: Jack Swagger (to see who his next challenger is)
Best Mic Work: Theodore Long
And In Other News…
ECW kicked off with the General Manager of ECW Theodore Long, who made the shocking announcement that former ECW Champion Matt Hardy has requested his release from ECW so that he can go to the SmackDown brand. The GM accepted Matt’s request and wished Matt "good luck". Before Teddy Long could move on to his other business, the still ECW Champion Jack Swagger made his way to the ring to announced that he will be having his Championship Celebration on tonight’s ECW. Then, The Boogeyman appeared for his match, scaring off the ECW Champion.
The Boogeyman was set to compete against Ricky Ortiz. However, Ortiz came out and told The Boogeyman that he does not need to eat worms to earn the fans’ adulation and said all he needed was a "Ricky O. Rally Towel". Boogeyman responded by attacking Ortiz and knocking him to the outside. Ortiz decided to abandon the match and escape any more physicality with The Boogeyman.
Backstage, ECW Champion Jack Swagger approached ECW GM Theodore Long and informed Long that someone had stolen his title belt. Teddy told Swagger to find Teddy’s Assistant, Tiffany, to assist in finding the belt.
Finlay was in action, taking on Paul Burchill. Thanks to his son, Hornswoggle, Finlay was able to secure a win over "The Ripper".
Backstage, Swagger is with Tiffany and Swagger stops the "World’s Strongest Man" Mark Henry & WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas to ask them if they had seen his ECW title belt. Henry responded by telling the champion "what if I did? What are you going to do about it?"
In a battle of former ECW Champions, Mark Henry defeated a very game Tommy Dreamer.
Still sans the title belt, Jack Swagger again approached GM Long and Long led Swagger to the ring. Once there, Long demanded that the individual who stole the ECW Title belt return it immediately or face disciplinary action. After a short wait, Finlay came out and informed Long & Swagger that he may have an idea who took the belt. Finlay checked under the ring and, sure enough, there was his son, Hornswoggle, with the ECW title belt. Finlay & Hornswoggle came into the ring and Finlay told his son to give the belt back as Finlay explained to Swagger that he was just "playing with it". Reluctantly, Hornswoggle approached Swagger with the belt. The champion snatched it away and viciously shoved little Hornswoggle to the mat. Ever "The Great Protector", Finlay assaulted the ECW Champion, adding an exclamation point by blasting Swagger in the face with the title belt. Finlay then handed the belt to the General Manager. Has Jack Swagger found his new challenger for the ECW Title? Much like he did with Matt Hardy, Swagger has made a battle over the ECW Title personal by putting his hands on Hornswoggle. Can an all-American wrestler compete with the brawling style of Finlay or will "Irish eyes be smiling" with a new ECW Champion in the near future?
The 494th edition of WWE SmackDown came to you from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. Confirmed for the post-Rumble SmackDown was a special appearance by Matt Hardy to open the show. Also, the qualifying matches for the Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship at No Way Out would begin and we would hear from the new WWE Champion Edge. "The Samoan Bulldozer" Umaga would also make his long-awaited return to SmackDown.
Good Week For: Triple H, Big Show, & The Undertaker (all qualified for the Elimination Chamber)
Bad Week For: Jimmy Wang Yang (got destroyed by a returning Umaga)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: Edge, Big Show, Triple H, & The Undertaker (when they face off in tag action)
Best Mic Work: Matt Hardy
And In Other News…
The night kicked off with Matt Hardy, who made his way to the ring with a steel chair, the same steel chair that he hit his brother, Jeff Hardy, with at the Royal Rumble; the steel chair that cost his brother the WWE Title. Matt sat down in the chair and started by saying that he finally does not have to share the spotlight. Matt states that Jeff is home and he is going to stay home. The elder Hardy stated that he has taken care of Jeff throughout Jeff’s personal and professional life and that several of the fans blame him for the attacks on Jeff over the last couple of months. Matt stated that no one can prove whether he did or not. He says that his actions this past Sunday at the Royal Rumble were no "accident" and with that steel chair shot, all of the pain and suffering he has endured was transferred to Jeff. Matt called his brother a "constant mistake" and said that he would have to answer phone calls at all hours of the night from people asking the whereabouts of Jeff. He also said that Jeff can not survive without him and if Matt’s survival means Jeff’s destruction, then so be it. Matt then turned to the fans and said that for ten years, he has done everything he could to get the fans to like him, but it was never enough and that the fans only care about the "screw up" Jeff Hardy. Matt added that Jeff has some psychological problems, but that Matt is fine, both physically and mentally and that there is only one person Matt will care about from now on and that is himself. Matt went straight for the heart by saying that, as of now, there is no such thing as The Hardy Boys and that Matt no longer considers Jeff his brother.
The opening contest of SmackDown saw R-Truth taking on The Brian Kendrick in a rematch from a couple of weeks ago. Before the match got underway, the referee ejected The Brian Kendrick’s "advisor" Ezekiel Jackson. Without "Big Zeke" to back him up, Kendrick was on his own and was defeated by R-Truth.
MVP was also in action, getting his first pinfall win in over 20 weeks by defeating Chavo Guerrero. Now that MVP is back on the winning side of things, he stated that he will not be "ballin" until he gets his United States Title back. Has MVP laid the gauntlet down for United States Champion Shelton Benjamin to face him with the title on the line?
Two huge Elimination Chamber Qualifying Matches were announced. First, The Undertaker would take on Mark Henry in a monstrous battle. Then in the main event, Triple H, Vladimir Kozlov, & The Great Khali would face off in a Triple Threat Match to determine which man will head to the Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out and compete for the WWE Title.
SmackDown also featured the return of "The Samoan Bulldozer" Umaga, who decisively defeated Jimmy Wang Yang.
In the first Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match, The Undertaker was able to overcome Mark Henry (and Tony Atlas) to make "The World’s Strongest Man" submit to the Devil’s Gate and secure his spot in the Elimination Chamber.
The new WWE Champion Edge also appeared on SmackDown. The new champion states that he usually does not acknowledge the fans, but tonight he wants to open up a public discussion so that the fans can apologize to him for being "dead wrong" in regards to Edge being the one responsible for attacking Jeff and for saying that Edge would not walk out of the Royal Rumble the WWE Champion. After a chorus of boos for "The Rated-R Superstar", Edge accepted the fans’ apologies. The seven time World Champion then said he doesn’t do this anymore, but he is going to do a special five-second pose. Edge posed with his title held high while putting his wife in a "lip lock". Big Show interrupted the "festivities" and came in and actually hugged the General Manager of SmackDown Vickie Guerrero. Big Show then investigated the WWE Title belt of Edge.
Big Show may be close to being able to hold the WWE Title as his own, as he defeated Festus in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match to head to No Way Out to compete for the WWE Championship against the champion Edge, The Undertaker, and three other superstars. After the match, Big Show chokeslammed Jesse for good measure.
Backstage, Eve got a measure of revenge over Michelle McCool by slapping the former Divas Champion. However, McCool just smiled and backed away.
Then it was time for the main event- a Triple Threat Match between Triple H, Vladimir Kozlov, & The Great Khali to determine which superstar would be heading to Seattle to compete in the Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Title. Despite being the smallest man in the match, Triple H showed why they called him "The Game" by hitting "The Punjabi Playboy" The Great Khali with the Pedigree to win the match and be one of six participants in the Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship.
It was announced on SmackDown that on next week’s show, the four known participants in the Elimination Chamber Match will face off in tag team action as WWE Champion Edge teams up with "The World’s Largest Athlete" Big Show to face the mega team of Triple H & The Undertaker. How can these four athletes possibly co-exist with tag team partners knowing that it is every man for himself in the Elimination Chamber? Things promise to get explosive on next week’s SmackDown.
Superstar of the Week: Randy Orton