February 8, 2009- February 14, 2009
Welcome to the forty-first 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 820th edition of Monday Night RAW came to you, live, from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. Confirmed for RAW’s last stop before No Way Out was a very special interpromotional match set up by The McMahons as RAW would have a very "phenomenal" visitor from SmackDown in the form of The Undertaker, who would take on The McMahon’s nemesis Randy Orton. RAW would also host a special appearance by a 2008 Hall of Fame Inductee, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. RAW would hold a big time 6-Man Tag Match as all six participants in the Elimination Chamber would be in action as World Heavyweight Champion John Cena teamed with Rey Mysterio & Kofi Kingston to take on the team of Chris Jericho, Kane, & Mike Knox. Also, CM Punk would make his first defense of the Intercontinental Title against former champion William Regal.
Good Week For: Shane McMahon (sent a strong message to Randy Orton for No Way Out)
Bad Week For: Ted DiBiase (victim of Shane’s "message" to Randy Orton)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: John Cena (to see if he survived the Chamber as champion)
And In Other News…
RAW opened with a special appearance by "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. The 2008 Hall of Famer started by expressing how much he has missed the fans since retiring last year at WrestleMania. Flair stated that he could not have lost to a better man than Shawn Michaels in a greater company than the WWE. Chris Jericho interrupts and tells Flair that he is "wasting air time" with the nostalgia of his career. Jericho accuses "Naitch" of "prostituting his legacy" and setting a bad precedent for the future superstars of the WWE. Flair responds by calling Jericho a "punk" and proclaiming that no one will order him around, especially not Jericho. Flair then states that he will not return to the ring because he has too much respect for Shawn Michaels and for the WWE. Jericho fires back and tells the legend that Flair craves the spotlight. Flair admits that he does and he does it because he has earned the adulation of the fans. Flair states that he retired from the ring, not from the business. Jericho boasts that he is a "locker room leader" and that there are more people backstage that support him than they do Flair. Jericho tells Flair that he will wrestle again, because he feels the need to be on the center stage at all times. Jericho stated that Ric Flair is a big fan of the movie, "The Wrestler" with Flair’s new found friend, Mickey Rourke. Jericho said that Flair does not realize that the character portrayed in "The Wrestler" is the same as Ric Flair. Jericho then tells Flair to stop pandering to the fans and to tell the fans that he is better than them. Flair refuses, but Jericho keeps chipping away at Flair, calling him a "shell of a man" and tells Flair to do his "tricks" to impress the fans. Jericho told Flair that no one cares about Flair and tells Flair that Ric Flair is the one to blame for where Flair is today. This sent "Naitch" over the edge, as the legend hits Jericho with a hard right hand, which causes Jericho to exit. Has Jericho raised the ire of "The Nature Boy"? What will be the result of this altercation between Jericho & Flair? Can Jericho focus on the Elimination Chamber this Sunday?
The opening match of the night saw Women’s Champion Melina team with Kelly Kelly to face former champion Beth Phoenix and Jillian. With a big assist from her "intern" Rosa Mendes, Beth Phoenix was able to pin the Women’s Champion. This has got to be some major momentum for "The Glamazon" heading into next week’s RAW, where she will face Melina for the Women’s Title in a rematch from the Royal Rumble.
Backstage, JBL approaches his employee and opponent at No Way Out, Shawn Michaels. JBL reminds Michaels that he is still under JBL’s employment. JBL then reveals that he has made a "tune up match" for Shawn Michaels against "The World’s Strongest Man" Mark Henry.
Randy Orton, flanked by Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase, made an appearance and reminds the fans that he won the Royal Rumble Match and that gets overlooked due to the feud between himself and The McMahons. Orton then vows that he will be champion again. Orton then stated that he never intended to punt Stephanie McMahon in the head last week, but that he wanted to show Shane McMahon what "could have happened". Orton then made a strong proclaimation by stating that no one can stop him; not The McMahons and certainly not The Undertaker. Orton closes by asking Shane McMahon that if Orton can beat The Undertaker, then what chance does Shane have?
After a short "pep talk" from their leader, Randy Orton, Priceless made their way to the ring to face Cryme Tyme in a rematch from last week. This time, Priceless used their skills as a tag team and the lessons learned from their leader to defeat Cryme Tyme.
In a 6-Man Tag Match with major No Way Out implications, the six participants in this Sunday’s World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match squared off as World Heavyweight Champion John Cena teamed with former World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio, as well as Kofi Kingston to take on former World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, former WWE Champion Kane, & "Monstrous" Mike Knox. Jericho and the "monster team" were able to beat Cena, Rey, & Kofi after Jericho caught Kofi in mid-air with the Codebreaker for the win. It will be a different story inside the Elimination Chamber this Sunday as there will be no partners and it will be every man for himself. Can John Cena survive as "The Champ" come No Way Out or will he be another victim of the Chamber?
Then it was time for the "tune up match" for Shawn Michaels, as ordered by Michaels’ employer, JBL. HBK quickly rushed "The World’s Strongest Man" Mark Henry, taking out all his frustrations towards JBL onto the former ECW Champion. HBK even brought a steel chair into the ring and after Mark Henry took it away, HBK hit some Sweet Chin Music on Henry, knocking the steel chair into the face of Henry, giving Henry the DQ win. JBL quickly entered the ring and reminded his employee that Michaels can not afford to get disqualified this Sunday as that would result in a win for JBL, meaning Michaels would leave with "nothing" and JBL would leave with "all". Michaels tried to leave, but JBL stepped in front of HBK and told him that he did not "dismiss" him. JBL quickly got personal with Michaels, telling Michaels to bring his wife to No Way Out this Sunday so that she can bare witness to the physical and financial destruction of Shawn Michaels. JBL adds extra insult on his way out of the ring by telling Michaels that his offices could use a woman like Michaels’ wife. Has JBL driven Michaels past the point of no return or will Michaels’ blind fury be a repeat of his match with Mark Henry where he gets disqualified? If he does, Michaels will lose it all to JBL. Will HBK be freed by defeating his employer or will he be a thankless employee for the rest of his life?
The Intercontinental Title was also on the line as CM Punk successfully defended the gold against former champion William Regal.
Then it was time for the much-anticipated main event that would pit Randy Orton against "The Phenom of SmackDown" The Undertaker. In the middle of the match, Priceless rushed the ring, but they were quickly dispatched by Undertaker. However, when Orton got involved, Legacy commenced the beatdown of "The Deadman". Orton was posed for the RKO on Undertaker when Shane McMahon attacked Orton. The Undertaker & Shane McMahon fought off Priceless, giving Orton the opportunity to escape. However, Shane sent a strong message to his adversary this Sunday by going "coast-to-coast" on a prone Ted DiBiase. In a No Holds Barred Match at No Way Out this Sunday, Shane can do the same thing to Orton and vica versa. With no interference, can Orton survive the No Holds Barred onslaught of the emotional Shane McMahon or will Orton prove that he is truly unstoppable on his road to WrestleMania?
The 140th edition of ECW on Sci-Fi came to you, live, from the Save Mart Center at Fresno State University in Fresno, CA. Confirmed for ECW’s last stop before No Way Out was a match between World Tag Team Champion The Miz & ECW Original Tommy Dreamer.
Good Week For: Christian (made a shocking return to the WWE & pinned the ECW Champion)
Bad Week For: Jack Swagger (got mocked, assaulted, & defeated by the returning Christian)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: Jack Swagger & Finlay (to see who is champion)
And In Other News…
ECW opened with a very unhappy ECW Champion Jack Swagger. Swagger claimed that he was "victimized and embarrassed" on ECW last week by suffering his first loss at the hands of Finlay & Hornswoggle. Swagger vowed to "take care" of Finlay this Sunday at No Way Out, but that he was going to "take care" of a different problem tonight. Swagger then proceeded to call out Finlay’s son Hornswoggle, who cost Swagger the match last week. What Swagger got was an individual no one could have expected; an individual that has been out of the WWE since 2005; a former Intercontinental Champion and accomplished tag team wrestler in one of the greatest tag teams of all time, it was none other than "Captain Charisma" himself, Christian! Christian had arrived in ECW and wasted no time in making an impact by mocking the ECW Champion. After "Captain Charisma" paid respect to his "peeps", Christian laid down a very serious challenger to "The All-American American". Christian stated that he has come to ECW for the ECW Title and that he is officially challenging the winner of the ECW Title Match at No Way Out- either Swagger or Finlay. The champion thought different, as he told Christian that was "not going to happen" and that he is a "wrestling prodigy". Swagger added that Christian is "no threat" to him. Christian proved that he is a threat by bashing the champion in the head with a microphone.
Backstage, ECW General Manager Theodore Long informed ECW Champion Jack Swagger had a non-title match to compete in tonight….against Christian!
The opening contest of the night saw World Tag Team Champion The Miz defeat ECW Original Tommy Dreamer following a distraction by Miz’s World Tag Team Championship partner- John Morrison.
ECW also saw the debut of Tyson Kidd; the last wrestler to emerge from the legendary Hart Dungeon. Accompanied by the only female wrestler to have come out of the Hart Dungeon- Natalya, Tyson Kidd picked up an impressive win in his debut match against Bao Nguyen.
Then it was time for a blockbuster main event as ECW Champion Jack Swagger would compete in a non-title bout against Christian. Swagger & Christian fought back-and-forth during the match, but it was a distraction by Hornswoggle and the shillelagh by Finlay that allowed Christian to pin the ECW Champion. This is the second week in a row that Finlay & Hornswoggle have cost Swagger a match, how will Swagger react this Sunday when he defends the ECW Title against Finlay? What about this huge return by Christian? When will "Captain Charisma" get his ECW Title Match and who will it be against- reigning champion Jack Swagger or Finlay?
The 496th edition of WWE SmackDown came to you from the Save Mart Center at Fresno State University in Fresno, CA. Confirmed for the final stop before No Way Out was the return of Jeff Hardy. The main event would be a preview of the Elimination Chamber Match as Triple H, Big Show, Vladimir Kozlov, & The Undertaker faced off in a Fatal 4-Way Match. Also, Maria would be out for revenge as she took on former Divas Champion Michelle McCool.
Good Week For: Edge (was the last man standing at the end of SmackDown)
Bad Week For: MVP (got laid out by Shelton Benjamin & hit with a Frog Splash by Chavo Guerrero)
It Will Be Interesting Next Week For: The Elimination Chamber Competitors (to see who survives as champion)
WWE Champion Edge & SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero opened the show. Edge revealed that, on last week’s SmackDown, he suffered a neck injury at the hands of The Undertaker and his Tombstone Piledriver. Edge also blamed Big Show, who hit Edge with his devastating right hand and watched as "The Rated-R Superstar" got pinned. Edge says the fans must have been happy to see that, but that he was happy because he is still WWE Champion. Edge’s wife Vickie states that, despite Edge’s alleged injury, Edge will defend the WWE Title in the Elimination Chamber this Sunday at No Way Out. However, to protect her husband, Vickie announced that Edge has the night off from competing. Edge vows that he will retain the title this Sunday. Big Show then comes out and tells the champion to relax, because he will have plenty of reasons to be stressed after he loses the WWE Title this Sunday in Seattle. Big Show told the champion that, this Sunday, Edge will have "no way out". Edge told Big Show that he always finds a "way out" of any situation and that he has continued to defy the odds throughout his career. Edge then told Show that Show used to be a "stand up guy". Big Show again tells Edge that he will lose title this Sunday. Edge fires back by calling "The World’s Largest Athlete" a coward. Vickie breaks up the argument and reminds Big Show of the Fatal 4-Way main event tonight.
In the opening match of the night, MVP defeated Chavo Guerrero by disqualification. MVP was poised to put away Chavo Guerrero in their match, when United States Champion Shelton Benjamin rushed the ring and laid out the "Ballin’ Superstar" with the Pay Dirt. To add insult to injury, Chavo Guerrero also hit MVP with the Frog Splash. Benjamin has what MVP & Chavo Guerrero want; when will these three face off over the title?
The Undertaker makes an appearance stating that "victory is his destiny" and that the Elimination Chamber is his "ally" this Sunday.
The World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison and WWE Tag Team Champions Primo & Carlito faced off, only this time, the winners got to go on a date with The Bella Twins on Valentine’s Day. Miz & Morrison again trumped The Colon Brothers, getting the win and The Bellas.
R-Truth was also in action, defeating "The Advisor" Ezekiel Jackson with a roll-up.
Jeff Hardy also made his much-anticipated return to SmackDown after a three week hiatus since being betrayed by his brother, Matt. Jeff stated that he feels "broken and left alone" with this betrayal and that, despite what Matt has said, Matt is Jeff’s brother and that brothers are supposed to have their brothers’ back at all times. Jeff stated that the Royal Rumble used to hold historic meaning to him, but now it just signifies "broken dreams". Jeff stated that he is moving on and he is moving on to this Sunday at No Way Out when he gets his rematch for the WWE Title inside the Elimination Chamber. Jeff vowed to win the WWE Title again, "whether Matt likes it or not."
Maria was looking for revenge when she took on former Divas Champion Michelle McCool. However, there was another Diva looking for some retribution- Eve Torres. Eve distracted the referee momentarily and lured Michelle McCool to the outside where McCool attacked Eve. McCool reentered the ring, but had briefly forgot about Maria, who rolled up McCool to pick up a measure of revenge for both herself and Eve.
Backstage, Triple H states that this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber Match is the sixth Chamber Match for him and only the second for Big Show, The Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, & WWE Champion Edge, while Vladimir Kozlov has never been in one. Triple H then vows that he will regain the WWE Title this Sunday in "number six".
Then it was time for the main event- a Fatal 4-Way Match featuring four of the six combatants in this Sunday’s Championship Elimination Chamber- Triple H, Big Show, Vladimir Kozlov, & The Undertaker. These four main event level Superstars fought each other like it was No Way Out. However, the ever opportunistic Edge halted any momentum that any of them had, especially Big Show, who got speared by the champion, leaving WWE Champion Edge as the last man standing. Will we see the same sight come Sunday in the Elimination Chamber? Can Edge survive five of the biggest WWE Superstars of today or will we see a new champion crowned in Seattle?
Superstar of the Week: Christian
No Way Out will feature two Elimination Chamber Matches, both for championship gold. The first of the two will be for the WWE Championship as the champion Edge faces the dauting task of surviving "The Game" Triple H, "The World’s Largest Athlete" Big Show, the vengeful former champion Jeff Hardy, " The Undefeated Moscow Mauler" Vladimir Kozlov, & "The Deadman" The Undertaker.
The other Championship Elimination Chamber Match will be for the World Heavyweight Title as "The Champ" John Cena defends against the narcissistic Chris Jericho, the high-flying Rey Mysterio, "The Big Red Machine" Kane, the explosive Kofi Kingston, & "Monstrous" Mike Knox in the demented structure.
In the most personal of battles, Shane McMahon will be looking to avenge the assault on his father as he takes on Randy Orton. Shane has vowed to sacrifice his body in order to destroy Orton. Will Shane-O-Mac live up to his promise or will Orton add another McMahon to his list of victims?
February 15, 2009 could be the day that Shawn Michaels gets his freedom back as he faces his employer, JBL, for it all in an "All Or Nothing" Match. If Michaels wins, JBL will pay HBK all the money Shawn will ever need for life and he will never have to work for JBL again. However, if JBL wins, Michaels must work for him for the rest of his life.
In a battle made personal, ECW Champion Jack Swagger will defend his title against Finlay. After Finlay put the first loss on Jack Swagger a couple of weeks ago and cost Swagger his match against Christian this past Tuesday night, has Finlay got inside the head of the champion enough to take the title or will Finlay pay the consequences of messing with "The All-American American"? What role will the always active Hornswoggle play in the title match?