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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 12/1: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of John Cena vs. Kane; IC Title tournament

Dec 1, 2008 - 10:05:39 PM

By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

WWE Raw Live Report
December 1, 2008
Washington, D.C.

The show started with a recap of John Cena winning the World Title at Survivor Series, then going ape wild on Chris Jericho last Monday after snapping on him. Great piece of video business to set the stage for tonight's show.

Live in the arena with no pyro or anything, they showed an AWA - John Cena style - logo t-shirt on the merchandise table. Chris Jericho was heard off camera, then Jericho said Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect used to be valuable, but Cena is a hypocrite. Jericho was then shown surrounded by black-shirted security guards who escorted Jericho down through the crowd from the top of the 100 level. Jericho said he has morals and values that none of these hypocrite Cena fans have or understand.

Jericho slowly made his way down the entrance ramp and stopped to point at a fan for having the audacity to touch him. Jericho finally entered the ring and soaked up the loud chorus of boos. He told the fans to keep cheering Cena all they want because none of them are worth it to him. Jericho said one fan he needs to save, though. That would be his son. Jericho took us back three years ago when Cena caused Jericho to be fired from WWE.

He said his son didn't realize how great he was when his son was two years old. Suddenly, his son started to watch Raw and he became a Cena fan between the ages of two and the current five. Jericho said his son use to parade around the living room shouting Cenaisms. Jericho rhetorically asked how it must have made him feel to know his son was cheering the man who caused him to get fired.

Jericho said he banned WWE from the household so he wouldn't see Cena ever again. He said his son didn't see Survivor Series when Cena stole the World Title from him, nor did his son see last week when Cena disgraced him. But, he's going to lift the ban starting at Armageddon because he wants his son to see his hero take a beating and hear the gasps of disappointment when Cena loses the title. Jericho then smiled at the thought of this happening before they cut to the usual Raw intro.

Arena: Back live, the pyro shot off before Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Cole hyped Cena vs. Kane tonight before plugging the IC Title #1 contender tournament bracket. Miz vs. Rey and Morrison vs. Finlay tonight. And we're starting with Rey vs. Miz. Unfortunately for Rey, when he came to the ring first, Mike Knox was standing on the entrance ramp staring him down. Rey tried to attack Knox, but Knox attacked him when Rey fell down hard on the edge of the ramp. Knox finally let up with ref Scott Armstrong pushing him back. Rey in danger as they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]


Arena: Cole and Lawler recapped the previous segment, then they sent it back to the WWE training room for an update. Todd Grisham stopped Stephanie McMahon coming out of the office and asked what's up. Stephanie said it appears Rey has torn some ligaments in his elbow. Stephanie started to walk off, then Layla stepped in and said Rey should be out of the tournament if he's injured. Stephanie said she couldn't agree more. She walked off and Layla was surprised at how easy that was.

In-ring: C.M. Punk came to the ring for a match of some sorts. They showed clips of Punk in the Thanksgiving Day parade in Chicago over the weekend. Kofi Kingston then came out as his tag partner. Hey, there are the tag champs. Yes, shocking news. Cody Rhodes and Manu then came out as the opposition in a non-title bout while Randy Orton was shown watching on a backstage monitor.

1 -- World tag team champions C.M. PUNK & KOFI KINGSTON vs. MANU & CODY RHODES -- non-title match

A little back and forth to start, then Kofi went for a slingshot splash on the outside on Cody. He connected, then Manu attacked him from behind to give Priceless the advantage heading to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Punk was in control on Cody. Wow, what a reverse with the heels in control into the break and the babyfaces in control out of the break. That didn't last long, though, a Manu quickly took control on Punk at 6:00 with a body blow and leaping headbutt. Cody then tagged in and slapped on a bow-and-arrow-like submission on Punk before knocking him down again with a clothesline. The heels continued to corner Punk, who tried to escape with body strikes.

Punk eventually scored with a knee to the nose on Cody before tagging into Kofi, who came in like a house of fire. Kofi delivered a Russian legsweep on Cody, then he marched around the ring before delivering the boom-boom leg drop for a nearfall when Manu broke up the pin. Punk came in, though, and dropped Manu with a bulldog. Kofi then avoided a victory roll attempt and nailed Cody with the Jamaican buzzsaw kick for the pin and the win. Afterward, they showed Cody and Manu recovering on stage while Orton looked on backstage.

WINNERS: Punk & Kingston in 12:00. Ah, that was nice to see Kingston actually score a pin for once. I nearly forgot what his finishing move was because it had been so long since he won a match with a pinfall. Meanwhile, Cody and Manu get to regroup with Orton to continue that program. Fine match. Not great, but serviceable. (*3/4)


[Commercial Break]

ECW: Join Matt Hardy on his quest for some stuff to happen. Oh, and then we'll end the show with a promo for Cha$e.

DX promo: Shawn Michaels and Triple H were backstage again for another pre-tape DX merchandise promo. Triple H plugged the Elimination Chamber as the ultimate play set for the holidays. Michaels sarcastically said pain and suffering make for a great way to spend the holidays. He then evaluated how tough it would be to put the sonofagun toy together. Michaels ranted about wanting his kids to have a little patience as he puts the dang thing together. Hunter tried to calm him down, but Michaels stormed off the set. He regrouped and tried to plug more merchandise, but Michaels stormed back on the set to complain about the kids only wanting to play with the box and not the actual toy. Hunter then held up the box and said it's a nice box.

Backstage hallway: Cody and Manu were staring each other down, then they walked up to Randy Orton. Cody asked Orton what he's looking at since he didn't win his match last week. Orton said they can go back and forth all day long, but the fact remains that at Survivor Series, they were on the same winning team. Orton said he sees potential. Tonight, how about we have a little chat about forming something. He told them to join him if interested.

Elsewhere backstage: Chris Jericho, in his full suit, walked up to the locker room door with a red light pulsating out on screen. He tentatively walked in to find Kane before telling him the word on the locker room is that people think Cena is going to take out Kane tonight. With a performance since he's a performer. Dance recital maybe? Jericho said peeps think Kane is going to tap out to the STFU. Kane told Jericho not to play mind games. He's going to take out Cena on his own terms and not for him. Kane said he's going to put on a show for these people because he loves them like they love him. Halfway delusional from Kane there. Kane told Jericho not to ever approach him like that again.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler set up a video recap of Stephanie and Shane McMahon's sister vs. brother rivalry that started last week's show. They focused on the part about Shane referencing Stephanie sleeping with another WWE wrestler to get to the top of the company.


In-ring: Jillian Hall was butchering a Britney Spears song, I believe. Melina interrupted to come out for a match, but before anything could go down, Santino's music hit. Santino then came out with Women's champion Beth Phoenix. Apparently Santino is on commentary for the match.


Jillian quickly knocked Melina to the outside while Santino explained they're out here scouting new talent for Beth. Suddenly, the screen went blank then back to the ring where Jillian worked on Melina with a mat hold and screamed in her ear. Jillian then tried a corner handstand, but Melina blocked and nailed the "Last Call" modified Canadian Destroyer on Jillian for the win.

Afterward, Santino said he wasn't impressed. He tried to escort Beth out of the ringside area, but Melina got on the mic and said she's going to take Beth's most precious accessory, the Women's Title. Santino held Beth back, then took the lead on responding. After calling her Melanie, Santino said she thinks she's so hot to trot with her little entrance. Santino said he's even going to do the entrance himself.

Beth tried to hold him back, but Santino insisted. He hitched up his britches, then got one leg up on the apron. Hitch up the britches again. He then got the other leg up just a touch on the apron before falling down flat on his back in sheer pain. He instantly held his groin. Santino shook and shook on the floor while Melina tried not to crack up laughing. "Is there a Slammy for goof of the year?" Cole asked. Won't go there on Cole. Beth then helped Santino up and asked why, oh why did he injure himself there? Santino shaking was moment of the year. So great.

WINNER: Melina in 3:00. Post-match was great and even enhanced the future Beth vs. Melina feud for the Women's Title. (3/4*)

Backstage: They showed JBL walking with a scowl on his face. Maybe a little business to attend to.

[Commercial Break]

Backstage locker room: Santino had ice bags on his lap to ice down the pain. A couple of hands were rubbing his shoulders to help him out. He thought it was Beth, but they ran the ole Goldust trick play with Goldust coming up behind him. Santino finally realized what was up, then he stormed off with the ice bags covering his groins. Yes, groins, as he said.

In-ring: JBL came to the ring for a street fight. He was in slacks and a dress shirt. JBL said he made a proposition to Shawn Michaels last week, but he has yet to hear back from Michaels. So, now he's challenging Michaels to a street fight.

[Q5 -- second hour]

After a pause, Michaels came out dressed in street clothes, which was camo and jeans. JBL then cut a promo about Michaels losing money during the economic struggles of the past year. He said he was making money while Michaels was following the herd and losing money.

JBL went to the wife angle and said that when he sees his wife and kids, he must think, 'How in the world am I going to send my kids to college?' JBL said Michaels can come work for him or become one those sad wrestlers wrestling into his 50s selling Polaroid photos in a high school gym. JBL said all the revenue Michaels can make off his DX revenue won't match his offer. He said one more slightly off bump through a table could end it all for Michaels. He's done. Nothing left.

JBL asked Michaels if there's anything else he could possibly do in the ring. He said he's offering him a chance to put his kids through college by joining his "corporation" of sorts. Nothing from Michaels. JBL said ever since Michaels stepped into the ring, he's wanted to punch him in the face, so why not just do it. Michaels started twitching as JBL egged him on. Michaels set up for the superkick while also appearing to fight back tears. JBL said if he listens to the fans and takes the shot, the offer is off the table forever.

JBL leaned over to give Michaels a target, but Michaels simply stood there with his leg cocked. No bullets in the gun. Maybe Plaxico should have been paying attention. Michaels then started to walk away while the fans booed, then he stepped out of the ring and JBL grinned from ear to ear. JBL called out after Michaels that he's looking forward to doing business with him. Michaels paused on the entrance ramp, then reflected. He then left through the stage.

[Commercial Break]

Geico commercial rip-off: Jen Bloodsworth is a real WWE customer. And they hired a real WWE superstar to tell her story. Unfortunately, they hired Jim Duggan to play the "celebrity" role. Jen said she went to and made all of her purchases in 10 minutes. Duggan screamed about the lack of foam 2x4s then paraded around the room shouting "U-S-A." They are ridiculously desperate for revenue on the site to make the fourth quarter numbers.

In-ring: Batista came to the ring in his hometown to a strong ovation. Dolph Ziggler then came out as the opposition, but he wanted to introduce himself, rather than Lillian Garcia.


The bell sounded, then Dolph wanted a handshake. Batista smiled, then Dolph re-introduced himself and slapped Batista across the face. Batista was ready to rip his head off, but Dolph bailed to the outside several times to avoid Batista. Dolph then waited for Batista to lose his cool and he nailed an awesome step-up enziguiri kick. Batista was briefly stunned before taking Dolph back into the ring. Suddenly, Dolph executed a leaping neckbreaker for a nearfall. Nice.


Batista then tried a spear, but Dolph moved and nailed a kick to the left knee. Dolph introduced himself to Batista again, then he went to the second rope, but Batista caught him in mid-air for a spinebuster. Batista had enough and wanted to end it. This time, Dolph couldn't escape the Batistabomb, giving Batista the pin and the win.

WINNER: Batista in 4:00. Nice showing from Dolph, who made the most of his opportunity to rub shoulders with Batista and get in some offense. Well done. (*)

Post-match: Randy Orton came out on stage and sarcastically congratulated Batista on the win. He said that one day, though, it will be them one-on-one. Batista chuckled once he picked up a mic, then he said it's funny you mention that 'cause he talked to Stephanie McMahon earlier today. And it will be them against each other at Armageddon. Orton tried to act confident, saying he can't wait until Armageddon. Batista then went back to celebrating.

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: They showed Randy Orton walking around, then Chris Jericho approached him. He suggested they let Kane do his business, then they both get to Cena after the match. Orton said Jericho knows what side he's on regarding Cena, but he's not fighting Jericho's battles for him. Orton started to walk off, then Jericho talked him back into the conversation about Orton becoming an after-thought because of Cena. He told Orton to think about that. Jericho then quickly walked off, leaving Orton to think things over.

In-ring: John Morrison came to the ring for a #1 Contender match in the IC Title tournament. They cut to Layla on the cell phone backstage watching Morrison's entrance on a monitor. Apparently she was on the line with William Regal describing Stephanie agreeing with them on Rey Mysterio. Finlay then came out with Hornswoggle to face Morr.

4 -- JOHN MORRISON vs. FINLAY (w/Hornswoggle) -- #1 Contender to the IC Title tournament first round match

Back and forth they went to start things off while Cole and Lawler recapped everything happening in WWE Storyline Land. Finlay caught Morrison with a series of hard clotheslines at 3:00, then he landed a big butt seated splash for a nearfall.


Finlay clotheslined Morrison over the top rope to the floor, then Hornswoggle approached Morrison, but Morrison shoved Horny down to the floor. Finlay became concerned, allowing Morrison to kick Finlay head-first into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Finlay sold a head injury that Morrison exploited with the springboard enziguiri kick on Finlay for the pin and the win. Afterward, Hornswoggle was distraught over how things went down.

WINNER: Morrison in 4:00 to advance in the tournament. Not a whole lot to this one. Audience wasn't particularly receptive for the ECW match. Still no resolution on the Rey-Miz issue in the tournament. (*)

[Commercial Break]

Promos: Three-hour Raw next week. Slammys and Stuff. ... Video package: They aired a trailer for the "Behind Enemy Lines" DVD release featuring Mr. Kennedy. Looks like The Marine 2. Lots of explosions and blow-ups and such.

In-ring: Stephanie McMahon came out on stage with a tight shot to make sure we don't see anything other than her torso. Stephanie then announced the nominees for WWE Superstar of the Year. Edge, Batista, Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, Triple H, and World champion John Cena round out the field. Coincidentally, these stars will be in action against each other next week. She started to say her husband's name, but the graphic had Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy. She claimed to pull a Mike Adamle there. Other two matches... John Cena vs. Edge. Triple H vs. Batista. Wow, they're giving away quite the PPV line-up next Monday six days before an off-brand PPV.

Video recap: Cole and Lawler recapped Mike Knox taking out Rey Mysterio earlier on the show. The medical update is that Rey is still insisting on being in the IC Title tournament even if he's not 100 percent medically cleared. The Miz then came out for the match against Rey.

[Commercial Break]


In-ring: After a pause, Rey Mysterio's music hit and Rey came out to the ring with his right elbow heavily taped up. Miz licked his lips in anticipation of going right after the injury.

5 -- THE MIZ vs. REY MYSTERIO -- #1 Contender to the IC Title tournament first round match

Suddenly, Rey busted out the 619 less than 20 seconds into the match. He then went up top for the finishing dive, but Miz rolled out of the way. Miz then went on the offensive trying to score a pin working on the elbow, but Rey kicked out of several pin attempts. Miz eventually went for the Reality Check, but Rey blocked and rolled up Rey with one good arm to score a pin for the win. Afterward, Miz was left very confused by how he lost this one.

WINNER: Rey in 3:00 to advance in the tournament. So now it's Kingston vs. Rey and Morrison vs. Punk in the semi-finals of the tournament. Match was pretty rushed and didn't really take advantage of the Rey injury for maximum effect of building heat for a "spirited comeback."

Backstage: They showed Kane preparing to face John Cena next. They sure aren't leaving a lot of time for the match. ... Tomorrow on ECW: Matt Hardy vs. MVP.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Four minutes before the top of the hour, Kane came out for the main event. After a pause that had a few boos, John Cena's music hit and Cena came out to the ring in his HLR merchandise. Strong reception for Cena, but you could sense an anti-Cena vibe just because the crowd hasn't been into the product much tonight.

6 -- World Hvt. champion JOHN CENA vs. KANE -- non-title match

They cut out the babyface shine to start things off and went right to Kane dominating Cena. That's what happens when the bell sounds two minutes before the top of the hour. Fans had the dueling chant of "Let's go Cena" vs. "Cena sucks."

[Q9 -- over-run]

Cena teased an FU at the top of the hour, but Kane cut him off and settled into more matwork focusing on the surgically-repaired neck. Kane then inexplicably went up top and Cena ducked before slapping on the STFU in center ring. Suddenly, Chris Jericho stormed ringside so Cena released the hold and attacked Jericho on the outside. Kane then used the distraction to set up Cena for a chokeslam in center ring, but Cena slipped out and lifted Kane up for the FU. He connected, then made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Cena in 5:00. Basic TV match to set up the post-match. (*)

Post-match: Cena stared down Jericho, who was on the floor, then Jericho started to run away, but Cena chased him down on the floor. Cena rammed him into the guardrail on the floor before dragging him up toward the stage area. Suddenly, Cody Rhodes and Manu stormed Cena to double-team him. Kids and women screamed in horror as Cena battled all three men. Out of nowhere, Randy Orton stormed the ringside area and kneed Cena in the head fore dragging him onto the stage to pummel and pummel away on him.

Orton then dragged Cena into position for his trademark horizontal DDT, this time taking him off the stage face-first into the concrete floor. All four men stared down at Cena, then Jericho rolled up his sleeves and went back to pounding on Cena with right hands. Fans chanted for Batista, but no one was coming down to help. Jericho then put Cena's lifeless body into the Walls of Jericho and placed a knee on the back of his neck for added pressure on the neck. Jericho screamed at Cena, the announcers went silent, then they ended the show Cena's look of pain on his face. Excellent ending with Jericho here. Really set up the Armageddon PPV title match to see Cena get his revenge.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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