TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 12/21: Complete coverage of Johnny Damon hosting Raw - DX's new mascot, Cena-Swagger, Tiger Woods skit
Dec 21, 2009 - 10:10:35 PM
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WWE Raw Live Report
December 21, 2009
Live from Tampa, Fla.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
WWE Raw opened with the new WWE TV intro removing "Hulkamania is Running Wild." Not a smooth edit, as the abrupt change is obvious. After the usual Raw intro aired, they started with a plug for Little People's Court. The "trial" happens tonight with Hornswoggle and DX. Also tonight, John Cena vs. Jack Swagger. Suddenly, Swagger's back in a featured spot on Raw.
In-ring: N.Y. Yankees's Johnny Damon was introduced to boos in Tampa. Michael Cole noted the budding rivalry between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Yankees in the AL East. Damon entered the ring and offered a "Merry Christmas." Fans booed. Damon said he doesn't know who he'll be playing for in 2010, but that doesn't matter because he's hosting Raw tonight. Damon said he's in charge of the WWE franchise tonight. Boos. He then introduced this Secret Santa concept, but there was an odd lion-sounding noise. A tiger jumped over the guardrail and a woman chased him down with a golf club. Oh Lord, a Tiger Woods skit. The woman chased down the tiger mascot through the ring, then to the back. Why, oh why? "That's not what I...um...signed up for," Damon said. Lawler slipped in, "Welcome to Raw." Damon then brought out the divas. I don't know what was worse - Dennis Miller's opening monologue last week or WWE failing miserably at a Tiger Woods skit.
1 -- GAIL KIM & KELLY KELLY & MELINA vs. MARYSE & JILLIAN HALL & ALICIA FOX
The divas were dressed in not-PG TV Santa's Little Helpers outfits. The action broke down after two minutes of basic stuff, then Gail Kim drop-kicked Kelly on top of Maryse for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Team Kelly at 2:15. Just some moves. Cole laughed and giggled. Lawler made his remarks. Just what you would expect for a "warped Christmas special" edition of Raw. (n/a)
Tonight: Santa Claus (no "e") delivers a special Christmas skit.
ECW tomorrow night: Jack Swagger returns to face Yoshi Tatsu in the ECW Homecoming tournament.
Earlier today: Shawn Michaels was shown reading a piece of paper. Triple H interjected and knocked Michaels's eyeglasses off. Hunter said he had to get his mic on, which is why he was late. Hunter led them down the stage to the ring. Empty arena setting here. Michaels figured they were supposed to go under the ring. Hunter said he doesn't want to get dirty. Michaels finally convinced him to slide under the ring. The cameraman went in with them and they went pitch black. Michaels did a mock "ghost stories" voice before pulling out some glowsticks to provide light. Hunter then pulled out his glowstick he got at WWEShop. Yes, this is actually happening on live TV.
Suddenly, they were backstage in a hallway. Michaels said it was like they were in a whole 'nother freaky world. Basically, they exposed how the trap door system works. They knocked on "Little People's Court" and entered. There was a jury of midgets seated and they didn't appear to be happy. Hunter cracked a laugh taking a peek at "Little Judge Judy" seated at the bench. Michaels said he's not sitting down in the little chair because he has bad knees. The bailiff smacked Michaels on the rear to knock him down to his knees. Hunter then removed Michaels's beanie and teased the hair plugs. Hunter and Michaels finally sat down, then Hornswoggle walked in and started grunting. Michaels translated that he's suing DX for emotional distress. Enter Exhibit A - video footage of DX tormenting Hornswoggle. End Exhibit A footage. Back to the court, Hunter rubbed his neck. Michaels said it doesn't look good. The WWE voice-over man did the People's Court voice with the music asking how this will turn out. This went seven long minutes.
In-ring: Back live, Randy Orton's music hit and out came Randy Orton with Legacy for a random six-man tag match. No hype for this one. Out as their opponents were Mark Henry, Evan Bourne, and Evan Bourne.
2 -- RANDY ORTON & CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE vs. EVAN BOURNE & MARK HENRY & KOFI KINGSTON
Legacy took control early on and they quickly went to a commercial break.
Back from break, Bourne took a hot tag and cleaned house on Legacy. Bourne then hit a top rope Shooting Star Press on Rhodes and he had a pin, but DiBiase broke up the pin. The action broke down and Legacy took advantage in the confusion. Legacy began tagging in and out working over Bourne, but Kofi took a hot tag and cleaned house on Orton. Kofi flew off the second rope with a dropkick to the knees before connecting with the Boom Drop center ring. Kofi made a cover, but Rhodes broke it up. Henry then smashed Rhodes out of the ring. In the meanwhile, DiBiase tagged in and ate the Trouble in Paradise. Kofi then made the cover for the win as the announcers put over Kofi. Meanwhile, Orton sold disbelief on the outside.
WINNERS: Team Kofi at 10:23. Pretty good two-segment match. They went back to focusing on Kofi to set up another round of Orton vs. Kofi down the road. Evan Bourne also had a moment to shine coming out of the commercial. Fine match to re-establish Kofi. (*3/4)
Backstage: The Bella Twins and Eve talked to Johnny Damon while Santa Clause stood off to the side. Eve then walked over to the punch to get something to drink, but Carlito walked in. Carlito suggested they kiss under the mistletoe. Carlito stuck out his lips, but Eve walked out and Chris Masters walked in. Carlito nearly kissed him on accident, then Santa stepped in to break up a fight before it could start. Sgt. Slaughter was under the Santa suit. Sarge and Damon then had an awkward conversation and looked up at the mistletoe. Damon told him not to think about it. "Don't ask, don't tell," Sarge said and chuckled. Just another throwaway, filler segment.
Little People's Court: They went back to the court. Triple H said he wanted to address the court. He said this whole thing has been one...little...misunderstanding. He tried to call them trolls, then dwarfs, then midgets and they barked at each label. Hunter, flustered, asked if they want him to call them "people of diminished stature." Cue up another video clip, this time from MSG Raw where Hunter gave Hornswoggle a Pedigree after teasing his inclusion in DX. That was Exhibit B. Michaels then jumped up and told the jury that Hornswoggle is trying to lead them toward a verdict. Hornswoggle then started going nuts, inciting the jury to chuck items at them. DX bailed out of the locker room "court" and fought off the little hands trying to grab at them. Suddenly, they emerged out from under the ring and back to "earlier today" inside the empty arena. Hunter and Michaels brushed themselves off, then Michaels was yanked back underneath the ring. Hunter tried to pull him back as Michaels shouted, "they're tearing my body apart." Hunter finally got Michaels out of dodge and they ran away from the ring. Back live on commentary, Lawler said, "Did that really happen?" Yes, it did.
Backstage: John Cena was shown walking down the hallway. He has Swagger up next.
Smackdown plug: WWE plugged the Christmas Night edition with two title matches: Undertaker vs. Rey for the World Title and DX vs. Hart Dynasty for the tag titles.
Two thoughts 45 minutes into Raw: the Raw writers are paying too much attention to TNA's booking with (a) zero focus on their World champ and (b) poor dependence on the "earlier today" storyline-driven segments.
In-ring: After they aired a video package on John Cena winning the Superstar of the Year last week, they returned to the arena for John Cena to make his entrance. It's the battle of Cena, who vowed on last week's show not to lose another match before he regains the WWE Title, and Swagger, who said he wouldn't lose another match in 2009... but then he lost a few weeks ago. Cole talked up Cena's "passionate speech" last week, then Jack Swagger came out to face in a re-match of their memorable match from the three-hour Draft edition of Raw earlier this year. Cole said Sheamus's title win gave the young stars in the locker room hope they could win the title.
3 -- JACK SWAGGER vs. JOHN CENA
Swagger started in control with amateur holds, then Cena took control going to an early break.
Back from break, Swagger was in control after taking a shortcut to gain control during the break. Cena tried to fight back, but Swagger cut him off repeatedly. Swagger then locked in a double underhook submission hold bending Cena's shoulders back. Cena tried to power to his feet in a squat-position at they hit the top of the hour.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Cena broke the Masterlock to make his comeback with a belly-to-belly suplex at the top of the hour. Good picture of a heated wrestling match for viewers flipping channels at the end of 9:00 p.m. EST programming. Swagger then cut off Cena again and delivered a running Vader Bomb out of the corner for a close two count. If anything, Swagger has at least been positioned as equal to Cena tonight. Swagger, upset, waited for Cena to get up, then he wanted his gutwrench powerbomb, but Cena blocked and back dropped Swagger. Cena then made his full-fledged comeback and set up the "You Can't See Me" routine.
Cena tried the Attitude Adjustment, but Swagger countered into a running powerslam after running Cena into the top turnbuckle. Nice sequence. The crowd sensed they needed to rally Cena with a chant, then Swagger took Cena up top. Cena blocked a superplex and knocked Swagger off the top rope before airballing a guillotine leg drop. Swagger then tried his running Vader Bomb again, but Cena moved and locked in the STF center ring. Swagger stayed motionless in the hold, then tapped out after seven seconds.
WINNER: Cena via submission at 12:30. Solid TV match. One of those matches where it could have gone another five minutes and not worn out its welcome, as it felt like Cena and Swagger were building to another memorable Raw TV singles match after the April match-up. Swagger looked good with plenty of offense and counters to Cena's usual routine sequences. Nice to see WWE putting Swagger in a position to look good in this match-up. Now, the key is the follow-up. (**1/2)
Backstage: Johnny Damon was talking to Dusty Rhodes playing Santa now. Dusty thanked Damon for bringing a World Championship to the Yankees. MVP then walked in and shook Damon's hand. He said he wants to make 2010 the year of MVP; he wants to prove he has the chops to hold a World Title. MVP then proposed himself vs. Sheamus tonight. Dusty said MVP reminds him of him. He said he can make this thing happen because he knows the man who can make it happen. Damon said he likes the sound of that: Sheamus vs. MVP tonight. MVP thanked him and Dusty stared up at the ceiling where the mistletoe was.
In-ring: Carlito came to the ring for a match as Cole talked about DX being found guilty earlier in the show and John Cena winning. They rolled footage of Carlito confronting Matt Hardy on the Slammy's show last week after the Jeff Hardy reference. Interesting. Chris Masters then came out with Eve to face Carlito. Natural tandem with Masters from Los Angeles and Eve with a college degree from USC. Not exactly a babyface reaction for Masters, who still has his heel music. We're flashing back 2007 before Masters was fired for his second Wellness Violation when Carlito and Masters feuded after being a tag team.
4 -- CHRIS MASTERS (w/Eve) vs. CARLITO
The bell sounded and Masters teased the Masterlock, but Carlito grabbed the ropes to block. Masters teased the Masterlock again, but Carlito kicked him away. Masters tried again, but Carlito blocked. Masters then caught Carlito off the ropes and locked in the Masterlock on his fourth try. Crowd still not into it, then Carlito faded out to give Masters the win. Post-match: Masters tried to pump up the crowd after his win. Eve then walked into the ring and congratulated him. She then pulled out mistletoe from her boot and planted a kiss on Masters. He responded by flexing his pecs uncontrollably. Get it? Instead of an erection, Masters's pecs become uncontrollable.
WINNER: Masters via submission at 1:45. Just a bizarre deal. At least it's memorable. Masters is a one-move wonder as a babyface. WWE certainly hopes the Eve association will get fans into Masters's character, but it needs time. (n/a)
Tribute to the Troops video: They aired a video package recapping the tour of Iraq and the "Tribute to the Troops" show that aired Saturday night on NBC.
Arena: Back live, they showed the crowd cheering the video and chanting, "USA." They showed a serviceman ringside cheering on the action. ... Tonight: Sheamus vs. MVP. It's apparently non-title.
Backstage: The Bella Twins were pawing the Tiger mascot on the couch. The Miz was then shown talking to a new Santa. Miz told him to make his Christmas wishes happen this time after failing when he was nine years-old. Miz said he wants a tour bus and new car. Miz Express? IRS Santa interrupted and said Miz owes back-taxes from appearing on the Kardashians. Miz said he was never on Keeping up with the Kardashians. Tiger's fake wife interrupted and chased off the Tiger mascot after spotting him on the couch with the Bellas. Miz told IRS to follow around Tiger to see how many girlfriends he really has. IRS told Miz that as the U.S. champ, he's in a new tax bracket and he needs to fill out his tax form properly because April is right around the corner.
Miz left, then Johnny Damon walked in and IRS said he's the worst of all the tax offenders as a baseball player. Suddenly, Mae Young jumped in and wrapped her arms around Damon. They rolled around on the floor, then Damon freed himself and Mae stumbled around before getting to her feet. Mae nearly popped out on the way to her feet, then shouted, "Merry Christmas!" It's beyond the point of silly humor to where it's just sad. Back live, Cole and Lawler sold this as the funniest thing ever.
In-ring: Back live, Sheamus's music hit and the champ came out with a cocky smile. Cole said with a straight face that there's nothing funny about this man. He's up next.
Plug for next week: WWE officially announced Timbaland as the guest host for the last Raw of 2009 next week.
Back in the ring, Sheamus smiled for the camera while flashing the WWE Title belt over his shoulder. They replayed the finish of the WWE Title match at the TLC PPV where Cena "may have lost his balance" falling off the top turnbuckle through the table, according to Lawler. Lawler added it doesn't matter because Sheamus is the champ. MVP then made his ring entrance for the match.
5 -- WWE champion SHEAMUS vs. MVP -- non-title match
The bell sounded and Sheamus instantly attacked MVP to take control of the match. Sheamus measured MVP for a corner attack, but MVP moved and Sheamus ate the turnbuckle shoulder-first. MVP then kicked Sheamus across the shoulder and dropped him with a jawbreaker. MVP set up the Ballin' elbow drop, but Sheamus popped to his feet and delivered his big bicycle kick to the face. Sheamus then set up MVP and connected with the running Celtic Cross for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Sheamus at 2:25. They needed to make Sheamus look strong to keep establishing him as a credible act considering the quick rise to WWE Titleholder. Tough spot for MVP, who was here to enhance Sheamus and not get himself over. (*)
Post-match: John Cena stormed the ring with mic in hand. Sheamus stood his ground with possession of the WWE Title belt and Cena told the audience he owes him a re-match. Cena then took off his t-shirt and demanded his re-match right now. There was no ref, though. Cena stared at Sheamus, but Sheamus slipped out of the ring. He hopped back on the ring apron, then teased re-entering, but slipped back out and left for good. Cole said things are being dictated on Sheamus's terms now. Cena did his "You Can't See Me" hand wave to close the segment.
World Hvt. Title DVD plug: They aired a plug for the World Title DVD that hasn't received much attention or focus on WWE TV.
ECW plug: They re-focused on Jack Swagger vs. Yoshi Tatsu in the ECW Homecoming deal tomorrow night.
Backstage: Vince McMahon approached Johnny Damon backstage to give him advice to use sandpaper to take off the kiss. McMahon encouraged Damon to think about Cena's challenge for next week. Damon then booked Sheamus vs. Cena...for next week. Live, the audience booed, of course. Damon then asked McMahon if there's any truth to Bret Hart hosting Raw. McMahon paused and said that's kind of a "ba hum-bug" question. Damon called him a jerk after McMahon walked away.
In-ring: The Miz came out for a random match. Santino Marella's music hit, then Santino came out dressed as Santa Clause. Santino proceeded to sing his rendition of "Santino Clause is Coming to Town." Santino said he doesn't feel like being very nice.
6 -- U.S. champion THE MIZ vs. SANTINO CLAUSE MARELLA -- non-title match
The bell sounded and Miz attacked Santino Clause to beat him down. Lawler said this could scare children. This whole show could scare kids. Miz pounded Santino into the corner before hitting a neckbreaker. Miz then wanted a running clothesline, but Santino ducked before doing the splits to hit an armdrag. Santino then climbed to the second rope and missed with his sailor's salute diving splash. Miz followed up with the Skullcrushing Finale on Santino Clause for the win. Post-match: Miz grabbed Santino's sack and smashed the toys inside. He then punted the sack across the ring, stealing Orton's gimmick.
WINNER: The Miz at 2:13. Just a squash to get heat on Miz for beating up Clause and ruining the kids's Christmas week. Santino was at least half-way entertaining because he's Santino. (n/a)
Announcers: On-camera, Cole told Lawler it's been a bizarre night. "Really?" Lawler said. Cole recapped the DX going to Little People's Court segment.
Video package: Yes, they made the audience sit through an abbreviated replay of the events from "earlier today" with DX going to Little People's Court.
Backstage: Big Show was shown walking down the hallway. Josh Mathews interrupted the Raw theme music playing and asked Show for his thoughts tonight. Show said he's sick of the fake Santa Clauses tonight and he's calling out the real Clause to get his wish tonight. Apparently that's our "main event" next.
Next week: WWE champion Sheamus vs. John Cena for the title.
"Marine 2" DVD plug: They aired a new trailer for Ted DiBiase's new movie coming out on DVD next week.
In-ring: Big Show came to the ring and called out all of the "Secret Santas" who have bogused up the show. Show demanded his wish...now. Some generic holiday music hit and out came another Santa Clause flanked by the Bella Twins. Santa struggled to enter the ring, then he waved to the crowd.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Santa said normally he would have someone sit on his knee, but Big Show's too big. Show dropped to one knee and Santa asked him if he's been a good boy this year. Show entered kids mode and asked for his best friend and tag partner, Chris Jericho, back on Raw. Santa sold disgust at Jericho for being such a bad boy this year. Santa asked if this is really what Show wants. Show begged and the fans were mixed in their reaction. Santa said there's no need to be scrooges here. Yes, next week, Chris Jericho will be back on Raw. They hugged, then Hornswoggle's music hit. Hornswoggle hit the ring dressed in DX gear and unmasked Santa to reveal Chris Jericho. Yes, of course. Jericho looked ridiculous in a great heel way. Jericho, having been exposed as a fraud, chased away Hornswoggle, but then an army of DX midgets hit the ring. They surrounded the ring, then Jericho dropped the Santa outfit and fought off the mini-DX army. Jericho screamed at Show to do something. Show then picked up one of the midgets and teased dumping him to the outside before dropping him with a sidewalk slam center ring.
Jericho chased down Hornswoggle, who was in the ring by himself with the kids & family crowd hot for this ridiculousness of Hornswoggle in jeopardy. Horny threw down his cap, then tuned up the band for Sweet Chin Music. Hornswoggle kicked Jericho in the shin, then Show teased a chokeslam, but DX's music hit and they stormed the ring. A brawl was on with Hunter dumping Jericho over the top rope to the outside. Show teased a double chokeslam, but DX double suplexed Show, who then rolled to the outside. Hornswoggle rejoined them in the ring and he teased fear over what DX would do. The fans chanted "DX," then Hunter took a mic and told Shawn they should squash him. Shawn played the good cop telling Hunter to calm down. Hunter said he wants to squash him for Christmas. Michaels said he can't lie because the little guy is starting to grow on him. Hunter said he doesn't hate him as much as he used to. Michaels said what he did was pretty big. "Can we keep him?" Michaels asked. He said he would feed him, clean out his cage, and take him on walks. Yes, because midgets are beneath human dignity.
Hunter said they can't let him in DX because he can't even make the height requirement. Michaels whispered something in Hunter's ear, then Hunter had a proposition that Hornswoggle drops the court thing and they make him the official DX mascot. Hornswoggle jumped up and down liking the sound of that. He did multiple crotch chops before Michaels went to one knee and said they have two words. "Suck it!" Hornswoggle shouted. Michaels, Hunter, and Hornswoggle then teased crotch chops after a brief "cupping of the ear" tease from Hunter. The show closed with Hornswoggle doing crotch chops as snow falling on the TV screen was shown. Cole closed with a plug for Sheamus vs. Cena next week as the show ended with DX posing in the ring ten minutes past the top of the hour. PYB talk time: 12:15. And so ends a show aimed at the demo age ten and below. Even ten-year-olds might think their intelligence was insulted as they reach that stage of rejecting force-fed humor and lowest-common denominator programming.
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