WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Knoxville, Tenn.
[Q1] The show opened with the annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King video… The opening video aired… Pyro went off on the stage and the screen noted that we’re two weeks away from the Royal Rumble…
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. They hyped John Cena and Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, and guest hosts Don Johnson and Jon Heder as the special guest hosts…
Powell’s POV: It’s cool to see they are putting Cena and Kofi together. Kofi could use the rub. By the way, this is my first Raw live coverage of 2010. I covered TNA Impact on January 4 and attended last week’s Raw in person. Yes, it’s an emotional moment for all of us.
Justin Roberts introduced Vince McMahon, who came to the ring as highlights played of his angle with Bret Hart from the Jan. 4 show. He said there are times in business when you have to make tough decisions, such as “bringing Raw to this godforsaken community.” Funny. He also mentioned his decisions to kick Bret in the gut and not allow him to appear in WWE.
Vince said he banned Bret for the fans. He said the fans want to remember Bret for the way that he was. “You don’t want to remember Bret for the way he is,” Vince said. He said Bret is an apologetic, humble, broken down warhorse who needs to be put down.” He likened it to chewing gum and having it lose it’s flavor. He said Bret lost his flavor so he’s been chewed up and spit out.
“If I had allowed Bret to stay here it would have been like a disease of some kind,” Vince said. He said he had to chop it off before it got started. There were some scattered boos, which Vince acknowledged and therefore turned into louder boos. He said the fans are hypocrites because they want “better, strong, and faster.” Funny that he replaced “bigger” with the word “better.”
Undertaker’s music interrupted Vince’s rant. Taker made his usual entrance and joined Vince in the ring. He stood there and didn’t say anything. Vince said wasn’t quite finished with his speech. “I feel that this is my time and my show.” Taker interrupted and said, “The way I see it, it’s my time now.”
Taker said he came out to address Shawn Michaels, but he wanted to tell Vince something that his own ego won’t allow him to admit. Taker said there aren’t many left who were there 12 years ago in Montreal. “I saw the whole thing,” Taker said. “I saw the fear in your eyes then and I see the fear in your eyes now.” The fans popped.
“You screwed Bret Hart,” Taker said. “Not once but twice. And now you’re terrified of the consequences, as you should be. What you did was the act of a coward. Vince sheepishly said that he disagrees with Taker’s point of view. He said that it was Taker’s time and then left the ring.
“Stubbornness, anger, denial, those aren’t just the attributes of Vince McMahon, they also lie within the sole of Shawn Michaels,” Taker said. He added that while Shawn is Mr. WrestleMania, the streak is still intact. Taker said Shawn has been trying to get his attention because he wants a rematch. He said he had an answer that he wanted to deliver personally.
[Q2] HBK’s music played and he came to the ring for a face-to-face with Taker. Shawn said he’s been waiting anxiously for an answer and now he’s all ears. Taker admitted that Shawn came closer than all the others, “but you still failed.” He said a rematch would end in more bitter disappointment for Shawn.
“Shawn, I have nothing to prove to you,” Taker said. “My answer…is now.” Shawn got pissed. Taker cut him off and said, “However, if you are truly convinced that you can beat me, I will give you that opportunity tonight.” The fans popped huge and an HBK chant broke out.
Shawn stared at Taker and said, “No.” The live crowd booed. “No. I want nothing more than to beat you, Undertaker, but when I beat you it’s going to be on the grandest stage of them all.” He said he realizes what he has to do, which is enter the Royal Rumble. “And when I when – and believe me, Undertaker, I will win – there won’t be any mystery or wonder which champion I’m going to face. The champion I’m going to face is you.”
Taker said he will be the World Hvt. Champion at WrestleMania. “So winning the Royal Rumble, Shawn, is your only chance at salvation,” Taker said. Shawn said he’d see Taker at WrestleMania. “Your streak, your title, your soul will be mine,” Michaels said. Taker’s music played to end the segment as he and Shawn stared at one another… [C]
Powell’s POV: Off the charts good. Just a great segment with Taker and HBK that got me excited for the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 26. Vince was also good during his promo. Much better than last week’s uneventful Vince promo. He had some fun shots at the live crowd and he and Taker did a nice job of hyping the next installment of the Bret Hart saga. That said, the 20-minute opening segment truly belonged to Taker and Shawn.
Highlights aired of Randy Orton winning last week’s triple threat match to earn a shot at the WWE Championship…
1. Sheamus beat Evan Bourne in a non-title match in 2:00. Randy Orton walked out moments after the bell rang. Orton slowly walked to ringside while a distracted Sheamus roughed up Bourne. Sheamus turned his attention to Orton, only to have Bourne hit him from behind with a kick.
Bourne followed up with another kick and the double knee press for a quality near fall. Sheamus came right back with a backbreaker and a big boot to Bourne’s face. Sheamus followed up with a crucifix slam and got the 1-2-3.
After the match, Orton slowly entered the ring as an “RKO” chant started with some fans. Orton and Sheamus glared at one another while standing in the ring. Sheamus backed up and let the ring announcer hand him the WWE Championship. Sheamus held up the title belt and was booed. He left the ring while continuing to glare at Orton…
Backstage, Triple H was about to talk with Shawn Michaels when he noticed Don Johnson. After exchanging pleasantries, Johnson said he was looking for Jon Heder. HBK said he didn’t know who Heder was, but he’d let Johnson know if he saw him. HBK walked away. Hunter said Heder didn’t show up. He praised Johnson for showing up on time and being professional. “Who cares if he shows up?” Hunter asked.
Hunter left the picture. Johnson spotted someone dressed up like Napoleon Dynamite from behind. The man turned around and Johnson noted that the person must be a fan of the movie. “Never seen it,” Carlito said while dressed in Napoleon Dynamite gear…
Powell’s POV: What? No Jon Heder? No! He was great in Napoleon Dynamite and, um, well, he was in that figure skating movie with Will Ferrell. Okay, so I wouldn’t be heartbroken if he didn’t show.
[Q3] [C] The announcers hyped the Cena and Kofi tag match… Jack Swagger came to the ring. Highlights aired of Santino beating him in the over the top rope challenge. Swagger said it was a fluke. Swagger asked for a rematch.
Santino came out dressed in Sonny Crocket gear (Don Johnson’s character on “Miami Vice.” Santino said he’d love to toss Swagger over the top rope, but he’s the president of the Italian Don Johnson fan club. Santino introduced his “suitable substitution”…
2. Mark Henry beat Jack Swagger in an over the top rope challenge in 0:30. Cole said Henry, Swagger, and Santino will be part of the Royal Rumble match. He added that Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, and C.M. Punk were also in the Rumble match. Henry pressed Swagger over his head and dropped him to the floor to win the match…
Powell’s POV: Why do they make Swagger look like a tool on a weekly basis these days? The company needs mid-card to main event level heels, but they just waste him.
Backstage, Jon Heder arrived at the building with the celebrity whore Bella Twins. He was wearing shades and a three wolves t-shirt. He said, “Go Nashville.” The Bellas smartened him up and he said, “Go Knoxville”… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess this means Heder is the heel. I still can’t believe the Bella Twins get paid just to hang all over the celebrities.
[Q4] In a rare production slip, a “Did You Know” graphic was shown and the shitty Raw theme song didn’t kick in until a few seconds later…
Don Johnson, Jon Heder, and The Bella Twins came to the ring as Cole plugged their movie. Johnson sucked up to the crowd. Heder cut him off and said he knew the fans were thinking how awesome it was to have real life movie stars. Johnson looked a little flustered, but he turned the attention to the main event.
Johnson said the main event would feature Degeneration X. Heder said it wasn’t really working for him. “It’s not that DX isn’t great,” Heder said. “They’re okay. I just need something new.”
Powell’s POV: I love you, Jon Heder. I take back everything I wrote about you earlier. You, sir, are an A-List star!
Heder said he and Johnson are both from California. He snuck in a Lane Kiffin reference, which drew heat from the Tennessee crowd. He introduced The Miz. Johnson wasn’t pleased. Meanwhile, Heder was overly excited about Miz. He even got down on his knees and bowed to Miz.
The Miz said it was nice to finally have real celebrities hosting the show. Miz thanked Heder for adding him to the Royal Rumble match. Miz claimed he received a text from Triple H that said Johnson should host the show alone. Miz said Heder’s movies have drawn over $300 million. Heder said the actual number. “I could do that in a week,” Johnson said.
Miz said he is what Johnson was – the hottest man on television. Miz said everyone wanted to be Sonny Crocket. Miz said no one remembers the other guy. Johnson praises his buddy Tubbs (a/k/a Philip Michael Thomas). Miz said MVP is the WWE version of Tubbs because he thinks he can compete on Miz’s level. Heder said, “That’s a Miz-take.”
MVP’s music played and he walked onto the stage and apologized to Johnson for having to put up with “Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro.” MVP said he was added to the Royal Rumble a few minutes ago, but he didn’t want to wait until then to get his hands on The Miz.
MVP headed to the ring to square off with Miz, who met him at ringside. However, Big Show’s entrance music stopped him. Show walked to ringside. MVP took a couple shots at Miz, but ended up taking a knockout punch from Big Show. Miz and Show entered the ring. Heder said he and Show have the same agent, so he brought him out to be an insurance policy.
Heder questioned why DX gets to celebrate every night. He said they should have their celebration. Johnson said he wanted no part of it. “Whatever, go make out with Tubbs,” Heder said. He said this could be the beginning of a beautiful new friendship. “Let’s hear it for friendship,” Heder said. He said DX would face the new team of Big Show and The Miz…
Powell’s POV: Heder and Johnson are actually fun. Heder is really hamming it up and having fun in the heel role, and Johnson is doing a good job of acting disgusted by his cohost. Fun stuff so far. I’m guessing Heder is a fan.
A spot aired with Cole encouraging viewers to contribute to a Haiti relief effort…
John Cena came to the ring to a big ovation. Cole said Cena will be one of the 30 men in the Royal Rumble match.
[Q5] 3. John Cena and Kofi Kingston defeated Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase in 11:40. After four minutes of action, the show cut to commercial while Cody was putting the boots to Kofi. [C] After the break, the heels worked over Kofi until he made a hot tag to Cena at 10:45. Cena worked over the heels. He eventually tagged Kofi back into the match. Kofi hit a high cross body block on Cody for the win. Cody was pissed after the match and Ted looked surprised to see that his partner was so upset…
Powell’s POV: Good television match. I was worried that they were going to have Kofi sell the entire time and then have Cena get the glory, but this played out nicely with Cena getting his time to shine and still letting Kofi get the win.
[Q6] Backstage, Heder spoke with Miz and Big Show. Hornswoggle showed up and grunted. Hunter entered the picture and said Hornswoggle was saying he doesn’t like Heder like the rest of the world. Horny grunted again. Hunter told him to watch his mouth because it’s a PG show. Hunter said Hornswoggle challenged Heder to a match. Triple H proposed turning the main event into a six-man tag with DX and Hornswoggle vs. Show, Miz, and Heder. The heels accepted even though Heder didn’t look too happy… [C]
4. Gail Kim and Eve beat Maryse and Alicia Fox in 3:05. Cole said the tournament matches with Maryse vs. Eve, and Gail vs. Alicia would take place on future shows. The crowd was very quiet when the opening bell sounded. Eve applied an arm bar on Alicia while sitting on the ropes and then flipped her onto the mat and got the submission win…
Cole introduced footage of Steve Austin’s appearance on “Chuck.” It featured Austin and star Zachary Levi discussing the show, which airs next Monday night on NBC at 7:00 p.m. CT…
The announcers hyped the six-man tag main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: By the way, they lost me with the Heder stuff the moment that Hornswoggle was added to the main event.
[Q7] Backstage, Johnson was flirting with Kelly Kelly until Heder entered the room. The Miz and Big Show presented Heder with his own Ric Flair-like robe that read “The Flame” on the back. Heder got pumped as they sold him on the catchphrase that “No one can extinguish The Flame.” Don Johnson walked away after watching it in disgust…
The announcers hyped the Royal Rumble…
Backstage, Vince bitched to Hunter about the Bret Hart situation. Hunter reminded Vince of his belief that perception is a reality. Hunter said that if Vince doesn’t call out Bret, the world will know he’s a coward. Vince walked away and Shawn showed up to pick up their conversation from earlier. Unfortunately, lame ass Hornswoggle showed up and made his dumb grunting noises. Hunter said it was serious and they would talk later. They comedically bickered about who would carry Hornswoggle. Hunter did the “honors”…
A shot aired of Randy Orton walking backstage. Cole said he would be in action after the break… [C]
A Did You Know graphic touted that the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony sold out in 35 minutes…
5. Randy Orton defeated Chris Masters in 2:45. Sheamus came to ringside as soon as the bell rang, just as Orton did during Sheamus’s match earlier in the show. At 1:55, Orton went for the RKO, but Masters countered with the Master Loc. Orton eventually reached the ropes to break the hold. Orton hit the RKO seconds later and got the pin.
[Q8] After the match, Sheamus entered the ring and nailed Orton with a big boot to the face. Sheamus stood over Orton and raised his hands as the fans booed. Sheamus left the ring with Orton lying on the mat… [C]
Powell’s POV: Sheamus vs. Orton could be a fun match, but I’m still waiting for them to add someone else to the match to make it a three-way. If they don’t add anyone, it will be very interesting to see how the live crowd responds at the Rumble pay-per-view.
Cole hyped that “Psych” stars James Roday and Dule’ Hill will be the guest hosts of next week’s Raw…
Powell’s POV: Those two won’t sell tickets or attract many viewers, but WWE will keep the network happy by having them host the show. Plus, John Cena is appearing on their show next Wednesday.
Ring introductions for the main event took place. Heder came out and hammed it up while wearing his robe. Don Johnson came out with DX and Hornswoggle… [C]
6. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Hornswoggle (w/Don Johnson) defeated John Heder, The Miz, and Big Show. Johnson watched the match from ringside. The heels took control early. Heder remained in the corner wearing the robe.
[Overrun] Heder tagged into the match after Miz knocked Hornswoggle to the mat. Heder removed his robe and revealed his trunks and boots. Hilarious. Hornswoggle bit him on the ass and then tagged in Hunter. Heder ran to ringside, but Johnson slid him back inside the ring. Hunter punched him.
Big Show entered and punched Hunter. Shawn came in and superkicked Show onto the fallen Heder. HBK superkicked Miz off the ring apron. Hornswoggle headed up top and hit the Tadpole Splash on both men to get the win. Heder headed out quickly and walked to the back with Johnson. Heder waved to the fans and forgot to sell.
After the match, Hunter told Shawn that he’s been trying to talk to him all night. Hunter said that Shawn would need to find another way to get to Taker because it wouldn’t work with him going for the championship.
John Cena headed to the ring and said that he had a major announcement he wanted to make before tempers got out of control. He announced that he would be competing in the Royal Rumble. He said the last time he was in the Rumble, he won the match. He said he’s going to do it again this year.
Big Show entered the ring slowly and said he’s also in the Rumble. He said the match is designed for giants like him. He knocked down both DX members, but Cena got the better of Show and cleared him from the ring. DX recovered and they both tossed Cena over the top rope. Hunter then tossed Shawn over the top rope.
“Here’s the thing I’ve been trying to tell you, Shawn, it’s not going to work,” Hunter said. “None of you are going to win the Royal Rumble, because I am.” Hunter’s music played as Shawn stared at him from the ringside floor…
* Original article/Prowrestling.net