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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 1/26: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live Raw with Royal Rumble fall-out

Jan 26, 2009 - 10:05:15 PM

By James Caldwell, assistant editor

WWE Raw Live Report
January 26, 2009
Cleveland, Ohio

The show started with a Randy Orton-centric video package going back to Raw when Orton cut a promo on Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon, then kicked Vince in the head. No shots of Orton winning the Rumble last night. "They pay to see me and not you," was the line from Orton last week.

In-ring: Lilian Garcia stood center ring and she introduced the winner of the Royal Rumble last night, Randy Orton. Out walked Orton, Ted DiBiase, and Cody Rhodes flanked by men in suits. Michael Cole said Orton will be reprimanded tonight. Jerry Lawler speculated as to what that will entail. Orton took the mic and introduced himself by name, introduced his attorneys and therapist, and said he will state his case for his recent actions.

Orton said being in WWE is a part of him - it's in his blood - and he is living with something that has been part of him for quite some time. Orton said he lives with IED - impermanent explosive disorder. Orton pulled out a piece of paper and said this affects 16 million Americans where someone is provoked and this leads to outbursts of physical violence. He said after being provoked by the McMahons last week, he went into his attack. He pointed us to his facial reaction after punting McMahon and said he is not responsible for his actions. Orton said WWE knew about his condition and did nothing about it. If Stephanie McMahon decides to fire him, he will sue WWE.

That's lawsuit number one. After referencing his Royal Rumble victory, Orton said he is more superior than everyone in this company, which is why he will sue for breach of contract if he is not allowed to compete in the main event of WrestleMania. Orton addressed Stephanie that if she chooses to fire him tonight, they will receive two lawsuits and Cody & Teddy will quit the company because they have vowed to stick by his side. Orton said with the three of them gone, there would be virtually no one left from the Raw roster.

After a pause, Orton said he has one more piece of business to attend to. Orton received another piece of paper and took a deep breath before apologizing to Vince McMahon and the McMahon family for the trauma he caused. He read that he hopes to put this ugly incident behind them and move forward. Crowd responded with a "you suck" chant, then Orton raised his voice that he is a man of honor and offers his sincerest apologies. He quietly said, "thank you." Cue up Orton's music while the announcers analyzed the situation. Lawler said Orton can't just read an apology and be done with it.

Backstage: Suddenly, they showed Stephanie McMahon sitting on a couch in her office watching the monitor. She looked very dark in her black outfit and dark black hair. Stephanie sternly and unflinchingly watched Orton leave the ring on the monitor before they cut to break.

Caldwell's Analysis: I sure hope this is leading somewhere, because it might have been the lamest post-Rumble promo ever scripted or conceived. Orton was fine in his delivery, but he had nothing to work with here.

[Commercial Break]


In-ring: Cryme Tyme came out for a tag title match against Miz and Morrison. They recapped last week when CT earned the title shot with a non-title victory over M&M. Shoot, I forgot all about that. Tag champs then came out to defend the belts.

1 -- World tag team champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPAR & JTG) -- World tag title match

Things broke down at 3:00 with action all over the ring. Morrison snuck up behind Shad and kicked him in the back of his knee to chop the big man down. Morrison then hit the Moonlight Drive on Shad for the pin and the win to retain the belts.

WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 4:00. Disappointing tag match in the sense that it wasn't given much time. Action was fine while it lasted, though. (*)

Announcers: Camera zoomed in on Lawler, who said one of Vince McMahon's axioms is that the show must go on. He then plugged the Elimination Chamber matches at No Way Out in three weeks. Lawler said for the first time, both the WWE and World Titles will be defended in the Chamber on the same show.

On-stage: JBL interrupted Lawler and came out on stage to discuss an Elimination Chamber qualifying match tonight. He said his employee, Shawn Michaels, will be in a qualifying match and if he wins, JBL gets the spot. JBL announced Michaels will be facing John Cena in a re-match from two weeks ago.

[Commercial Break]

Tonight: World TV premiere of "12 Rounds" movie starring John Cena. Even the music is straight from the Bourne trilogy.

In-ring: Kofi Kingston came out for a Chamber qualifying match. Verizon Wireless is advertising, but WWE's official phone partner is AT&T for their Mobile-exclusive videos. That is a good example of a lack of synergy. Kane came out as the opposition for Kofi.


2 -- KANE vs. KOFI KINGSTON -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Kane dominated the first 90 seconds, then wanted a chokeslam, but Kofi suddenly hit him with a kick to the head. Kofi tried a spinkick, but Kane grappled him around the throat. Kane countered a chokeslam attempt, though, and rolled through into a pin for the win.

WINNER: Kofi at 1:52. Another too-short TV match, but exciting during the two minutes. Are they giving HBK vs. Cena 45 minutes or booking another 25-minute show-closing segment and need to fit in without a reprimand from USA Network for going 18 minutes over last week? Time for version 35 of Kane-finds-his-monster-ways-again after going on another losing streak. (*)

[Commercial Break]

On-stage: Back from break, Chris Jericho's music hit. Thank goodness. He came out on stage dressed in a sharp villain suit, then cut a promo about "The Wrestler," starring Mickey Rourke. He cued up the video that aired on Smackdown, before cutting back to Jericho, who said Ric Flair gave this movie a glowing review. Jericho said Flair just has to stay in the spotlight and apparently Rourke and he have become friends. He said Flair gave Rourke some bad advice. Cut to the clip from the red carpet SAG awards last night where Rourke talked about the movie endorsement from WWE, Vince McMahon, and Ric Flair, then Rourke said he's going to take apart Chris Jericho at WrestleMania.

Back to Jericho, who said he will say this slowly: Rourke, you are out of line. He said it's one thing to play a wrestler in a movie, but it's another thing to be one. Jericho said the last thing Rourke or Flair would ever want to do is offend Chris Jericho. He lowered the mic, then walked around the stage before heading to the back.

Backstage: JBL was shown pacing around before addressing Shawn Michaels, who said he did everything he could do to help JBL beat Cena last night. Michaels said he had to superkick JBL to make Cena lower his guard, then he superkicked Cena, put JBL on top, got another referee, and assumed everything was in place. JBL said HBK assuming is what got him in this mess to begin with. He asked Michaels if he's going to assume he can just beat Cena tonight. JBL gave Michaels one more last chance to beat Cena. It's next.

[Commercial Break]


WrestleMania memory video: March 31, 1985 where one man's vision (Vince McMahon shown walking out of the shadows) brought wrestling to the mainstream with one major gamble. They showed clips of Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper as mainstream stars, leading to WrestleMania at MSG. Classic shots of Piper shaking/wagging his head on the way to the ring and Hulk and Mr. T walking down the MSG hallway. Transition to an AC/DC anthem for this year's WrestleMania.

In-ring: JBL's music hit and Shawn Michaels came out with JBL. No HBK theme music. No limo. Michaels entered the ring while JBL stared at him, then John Cena's music hit after a lengthy pause. Huge kids reaction for Cena.

3 -- WWE World Hvt. champion JOHN CENA vs. SHAWN MICHAELS -- non-title match -- JBL qualifies for Elimination Chamber w/HBK win

After the bell sounded, the two men came face-to-face and Cena landed the first blow for retribution from last night. Cena then missed with a running bulldog and HBK slapped him. Cena suddenly answered with a big ol' bar-fight-quality right hand. He wanted the FU, but HBK slipped to the outside and regrouped. HBK checked his ear, then climbed back into the ring after JBL tried to talk to him.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Cena scored a nearfall then hit a belly-to-belly suplex for another close call. There has been a definitive lack of emphasis on the jeopardy Cena faces at No Way Out putting his World Title on the line against five other men. Just something off all night in establishing what's at stake at No Way Out leading to WrestleMania. Cena landed a high back-body drop and began working on HBK's back. Michaels then came back with a flying forearm smash and kipped up to start his offensive comeback. HBK suddenly walked into a drop toehold, but blocked an STFU attempt.

[Q5 -- second hour]

At the top of the hour, Cena set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Michaels countered the you-can't-see-me into a crossface in center ring. Finally, someone countered that after Cena took forever. Michaels really sold the hold like he had it locked in tight and Cena made his face turn red to sell the hold. Cena managed to power-lift to his shoulders for an FU attempt, but HBK blocked. Cena then stepped through into the STFU right in front of JBL just like two weeks ago. Ref Chioda reprimanded JBL as Michaels inched closer and closer to the bottom rope. Michaels didn't need JBL this time, and he broke the hold.

At 10:00, Cena wanted the FU again, but Michaels elbowed out into a roll-up for a two count. Michaels fired off a chop to the chest, then rammed Cena into the turnbuckle, but had to pause to sell his injured back. Cena reversed a whip and sent HBK upside down in the corner, but HBK exploded out of the corner with a clothesline. Both men recovered, talked out the next spots, then HBK scoop slammed Cena. JBL wanted Michaels to superkick Cena, but Michaels said he's doing things his way. HBK went up top for the elbow, but JBL went on the apron to continue the argument. Cena then shoved JBL into Michaels to crotch him and scooped up HBK for the FU in center ring for the pin and the win.

Post-match: JBL readjusted his belt and groaned in disbelief that he just lost his No Way Out slot. Cole said Lawler has followed HBK's career for so long and knows HBK always drops that elbow before hitting the superkick. After Cena left the ring with his title belt, JBL entered the ring and stood over HBK, who was groaning from Cena's attack on his back.

WINNER: Cena at 12:40. Very good on the storytelling aspect of the match. Action was a bit off at times, but still a good piece of business to advance storylines to WrestleMania. Not at the level of their match two weeks ago. (**3/4)

Video recap: They went back to the opening segment where Randy Orton read a prepared statement of apology to the McMahons, but not before threatening two lawsuits against WWE.

Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in Stephanie McMahon to ask her about punishment to Randy Orton tonight. Steph said there will be punishment, but she'll do it to Randy's face. She sternly stared at Grisham before they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Divas tag match up next. Melina came out sporting the Women's Title as the new champ after winning last night. Looked like the same outfit she wore last night. Kelly Kelly came out as her tag partner. Lawler breathed deeply while instructing Cole to lay out for a second. Beth Phoenix, Santino, and Jillian Hall came out as the opposition. Well, Santino just ringside. Beth was not happy after losing the belt. Santino's on commentary. Yes.



Santino said Beth has been very difficult to deal with the last 24 hours. Cole congratulated him on his record-setting effort in the Rumble last night. Santino said he wasn't even ready - "That stupid Kane." What was Beth's excuse last night? Santino said that Mexican Chihuahua got lucky. Jillian worked on Kelly, then Beth tagged in and went on the offensive. Suddenly, Rosa Mendes showed up ringside and yanked Melina off the ring apron. Kelly missed the hot tag opportunity, then Beth gave her the chicken wing front-face slam for the win.

WINNERS: Beth & Jillian at 2:30. Fine divas match, but another shortie. Glamarella needs something to spice things up. Seems like repeat TV every week. Rosa isn't going to cut it either. (1/2*)

WrestleMania moment: April 3, 2005 for WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles with the Hollywood mini-movies. Christy Hemme appearance there. The JBL-Cena "you can't handle the truth" video. Michaels vs. Angle classic. Fair share of Angle cameos on WWE TV recently. Cena winning his first WWE Title, then Batista winning his first World Title. They capped it with the debut of the Money in the Bank match, which was won by Edge.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Rey Mysterio came to the ring for an Elimination Chamber qualifying match. Rey chatted with his Rey fans ringside sporting masks as Cole talked up Rey going 45 minutes in the Rumble after being the number one entrant. William Regal came out with Layla as the opposition. Not a good week for Regal, who lost the IC Title last week to Punk and was eliminated by Punk in the Rumble.

5 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. WILLIAM REGAL (w/Layla) -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Regal countered Rey's signature athletic moves early on, including turning a wheelbarrow into an overhead toss for a two count. Regal started ripping at the mask, then clubbed Rey in the face with forearm blows. Regal doing a lot of grunting and talking during his beating on Rey. Regal wanted a double underhook, but Rey countered into an arm drag. Regal came back with another overhead toss for a two count. Rey suddenly came back with the 619, then hit the springboard splash for the win. Rey celebrated afterward. No sign of Mike Knox to attack him.

WINNER: Rey at 3:45 to advance to the Chamber. It seemed like they cut out 30 seconds of the Rey comeback before he suddenly hit the 619 and splash for the win, especially after Regal was dominating and in no position to be weak enough to set up a logical pinning sequence from Rey. Tough to suspend disbelief there. (*)


Up next: 12 Rounds premiere. ... Out tomorrow: WWE the Music vol. 9 - "Voices"

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Rosa Mendes was talking to Santino, asking for forgiveness for what she did to Melina in the tag match. She hopes Beth isn't upset at her for helping when she felt the need to take a stand against that evil Melina. Beth snuck up behind them and folded her arms. She let a smile creak out and said, "We can keep her." She walked off, then Santino and Rosa celebrated.

"12 Rounds" premiere: Lawler excitedly introduced the premiere trailer. Cena, as "Officer Fisher," made a mistake in the line of duty and the bad-guy breaks out of prison, stalks Cena for 12 rounds of tasks, and Cena tries to get his girl back.

Up next: Punk vs. Jericho in a Chamber qualifying match. So far: Rey and Kofi have qualified. Cena is already in.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: New IC champ C.M. Punk came to the ring for a qualifying match against Jericho. They replayed Punk winning the title last week in Chicago. Jericho then came out as the opposition. Announcers talked about Mickey Rourke's challenge to Jericho. Lawler brought up Andy Kaufman as an example of someone biting off more than he could chew. Cole said Rourke is a former boxer, though.


6 -- Intercontinental champion C.M. PUNK vs. CHRIS JERICHO -- non-title match -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Punk dominated early on. He executed a huracanrana at 3:00, then wanted the G2S, but Jericho slipped into a bridge pin for a two count. They exchanged pin attempts before Jericho teased the Walls of Jericho. Jericho suddenly crashed onto his right arm and sold initial pain before going into a backslide exchange. Jericho nailed the codebreaker and scored the pin for the win.

WINNER: Jericho at 3:20. Maybe it's the trunks vs. long pants, but Jericho is looking a bit chunkier these days. Another too-short match and not exactly the best way to promote the IC Title belt after Punk's win last week. (*)

Split screen: they showed Stephanie McMahon walking to the ring backstage on the left side. Randy Orton was shown pacing around his locker room on the right screen.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Lilian Garcia introduced Raw GM Stephanie McMahon, who slowly made her way to the ring. Steph said she's going to address Randy Orton tonight. She won't back down even if Orton won the Rumble, threatened lawsuits, and offered some half-hearted apology. Stephanie called out Orton, then his music hit and Orton walked out with his entourage of Cody, Teddy, attorneys, and therapists.

Orton took the mic in the ring and asked Stephanie a question. "Do you want to go through with this?" He said if Stephanie fires him tonight, she'll be subjecting him to a nightmare. He'll be gone, Cody and Ted will be gone, and the star power will be crippled. An attorney whispered in Orton's ear, then he took the mic and reiterated his client's condition about IED. The fact that the company ignored his condition is their responsible. Unlike an employee of WWE last week was forced to apologize from his knees, Orton will not be subjected to the same treatment. Wait, wait, wait, Jericho is an independent contractor. Who is this bogus attorney?

Orton threatened to make sure there is no WrestleMania and he will shut this company down if Steph fires him. He promised to make it happen. Suddenly, the crowd shouted, then they cut to the stage where the entire Raw roster was assembled on stage, led by Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio. Orton asked them what they're looking at. Orton said he doesn't care whether they have a WrestleMania.

[Q9 -- over-run]

Orton said he'll take each and every one of them down with him. He said maybe that's exactly what he's going to do. Orton walked over to Stephanie and threatened her to fire him. "I'm begging you to fire me! Let me sue this company for everything it's worth!" He demanded Stephanie give him the words her father was about to say before he kicked him in the skull. They went face-to-face before Stephanie said firing you would be too easy. "We have bigger plans," Stephanie said.

Oh boy, Shane McMahon's music hit and he came out on stage. No dance tonight. He took off his leather jacket and walked to the ring. Steph was all-smiles standing on the outside, thinking big brother had her back. Shane faced off against Orton, then slowly walked up to him. Orton backed down. Cody and Teddy backed down. One step at a time. Shane then charged through Ted and Cody to tackle Orton with a spear. Shane took it to Orton and fought off the other two several times. No one else involved here. Cody finally subdued Shane, then Shane fought back on Orton with some of the ugliest punches ever. Shane trying to be a fighter was okay to start with, but turned quite embarrassing. Ted helped Orton out of the ring, then Shane followed him up the entrance ramp to continue the fight.

Suddenly, the entire Raw roster dogpiled Orton before pulling away Ted and Cody. Shane was subdued as well. Jim Duggan was trying to play peacemaker on the kindergarten playground. That's how bad this segment turned. Shane suddenly snapped on Kofi and landed one of his ugly blows. Rey tried to calm Shane down as he looked around for Orton. What a horrible, horrible piece of TV to close the show.

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on Raw, email to

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