TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 11/23: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Jesse Ventura hosting three-hour Raw
Nov 23, 2009 - 10:10:54 PM
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WWE Raw Live Report
November 23, 2009
Live from Hershey, Pa.
Aired live on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
WWE Raw opened with the new Raw intro rather than a recap video from Survivor Series last night. After the closing shot of John Cena's salute in the video, the pyro shot off in the arena with Michael Cole welcoming us to a "very special" three-hour Raw. And tonight's big main event is John Cena vs. C.M. Punk that Punk personally requested.
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced Jesse "the Governor" Ventura with the plugs for Ventura's new show on TruTV, but Randy Orton's music interrupted and out came Orton. After Orton's music ended, he said the normal routine is the guest host usually shows up and is interrupted. He said he doesn't care about the routine. Orton said Ventura has a major announcement to make about the WWE Title, but he's heard some talk from papa Orton that Ventura usually likes to break the rules. He told Ventura to prove it to him because he's not supposed to face Cena for the WWE Title anymore, but he knows the special guest host has unlimited power to lift his ban. Boos from the crowd. Orton said he's most-deserving of being World champ.
Some random music interrupted Orton's spiel, then out came Ventura. Ventura was sporting shades, a thick red leather jacket, and black pants to present himself as being his image of a cool cat. Ventura opened with that classic deep, gravely voice and declared "The Body is back." He said he's dressed like a pro wrestler, not a governor. Ventura said what he says goes and he likes Orton's style. He said Orton reminds him of him...back when he was a little bit younger. Ventura said he doesn't belong to the Republicans or the Democrats, but he belongs to the independents demanding a revolution. Ventura said he will bring something completely new to WWE tonight. He said the problem is Orton won'tbe getting a title shot. Big crowd reaction. Ventura said he's here for something new. Too many of the same people day in, day out, week after week getting the title shots, he said. Snap. Ventura said no, it won't be Randy Orton, Big Show. Orton interrupted asking about Triple H. "No, no Hunter, no Michaels, no Jericho." Ventura said the way to qualify is to have never been a World champion. He said the men going through the qualifying matches will go into a Breakthrough Battle Royal. Winner of the battle royal will be the #1 contender for the World Hvt. Title...and it will not be these old names. Ventura said Orton is on the list of guys who have been there, done that.
Orton said Ventura is making a very, very big mistake. Ventura said he's made plenty of mistakes before. But, he moves on from his mistakes and his rules go on. He said what he says goes. Ventura pulled out a card from his pocket with a list of matches for tonight. Cena vs. Punk first-time-ever. Also, Hart Dynasty vs. DX tonight first-time-ever. Ventura said that's the way it will be because he says so. And now for the preliminary matches.
In-ring: Kofi Kingston's music hit and out came Kofi as Orton was making his exit. Kofi and Orton traded a big stare down on the entrance ramp to continue building their feud. Kofi hit the ring as Ventura left before going to break. PYB (3) talk time: 8:40. JC: Ventura brought his "A" game tonight, folks. And we're finally getting some new stars in the main event situation. Good start to the show.
[Commercial Break. They included a "Conspiracy Theory" plug for Jesse Ventura's new show.]
In-ring: Kofi Kingston was still dancing around in the ring ready for his opponent. But, first, a look back at the "MSG moment" from last week when Kofi put Orton through a table via the Boom drop. And Kofi's opponent was...Dolph Ziggler. Cole explained the winner of the breakthrough qualifying matches goes on to the battle royal at the end of the show. If a Raw guy wins, he gets a WWE Title shot at Cena. If a Smackdown guy wins, he gets a World Title shot at Undertaker.
1 -- KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER -- Breakthrough qualifying match
Crowd with an early "Let's go Kofi" chant in the opening minute. Dolph went on the attack after Kofi missed with an early corner attack. He continued to ground Kofi with mat holds, then Kofi made a comeback at 3:00 with his aerial attack. Kofi then followed with a Boom Boom elbow drop. He teased the Trouble in Paradise kick, but Ziggler ducked. Ziggler then wanted his finisher, but Kofi grabbed the ropes to block. He followed with the TIP kick to make the pin for the win.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston at 3:54 to advance to the #1 contender battle royal. Basic four-minute TV match. The audience didn't think for a second Ziggler was winning, plus they didn't seem to be very familiar with Smackdown's Ziggler. (*)
Announcers: Cole and Lawler talked about having lots to be thankful for. Lawler said we'll hear from wrestlers throughout the show on what they're thankful for. Cole shot an eyebrow that Miz would be the first one up.
Backstage: They cut to a shot of long table full of Thanksgiving food items. You know someone is going to get smashed in the face with that by the end of the night. Miz was shown and the crowd booed. He said he's thankful for the love, respect, and adoration from the fans every Monday night. Miz reminded everyone he was the only one from Raw to win at Bragging Rights and team captain of the winning Team Miz last night. Miz said he's actually not thankful for any of his greatness, but he expects it. He said the people should be thankful for being able to watch him because he's The Miz and he's awesome. Miz smugly said, "Happy Thanksgiving."
In-ring: Sheamus came to the ring as Jerry Lawler talked about wanting to see someone beat up Sheamus after he took him out last week. Lawler said he'll sit and wait. Out came Finlay to face Sheamus. Classic role for Finlay enhancing a younger talent. Cole noted it could be Finlay's final chance at a World Title after 30 years in the business.
2 -- SHEAMUS vs. FINLAY -- Breakthrough qualifying match
The bell sounded and Finlay smashed Sheamus to the outside right at Lawler's feet for him to get a good look at Sheamus. Back in the ring, Sheamus pounded on Finlay before finishing him off with the Outsider's Edge for the decisive pin and the win. Well, that was quick. Post-match, Sheamus wasn't done with Finlay, as he ran back into the ring to deliver more punishment. The action spilled to the floor where Sheamus gave Finlay a running bicycle kick over the guardrail to the floor. Announcers noted it's been a long time since Finlay has been manhandled like that.
WINNER: Sheamus at 1:58 to advance to the #1 contender battle royal. Very short match, but the emphasis was on making Sheamus look like a monster. Should be an interesting battle royal just based on the first two qualifiers in a Battle of the super-pushes. (n/a)
Up later tonight: Hart Dynasty vs. DX. Cole asked how DX is going to get along tonight after what happened at Survivor Series. First plug for dissension, but not the heavy emphasis. ... A Hulk Hogan DVD plug sent the show to commercial.
Backstage: Teddy Long was shown at the Thanksgiving set. He said he should be thankful that Mr. McMahon has...Vickie Guerrero and Eric Escobar interrupted with Vickie doing the talking that it's nice she has power and influence again. Escobar and Vickie shared a moment, then Long teased smashing the potatoes into Vickie's face, but Eric intercepted and the crowd booed. Back ringside, Cole said it sounds like Vickie is conspiring to take Long's role. Well, look at that. Cole with a not-so-smooth transition into a plug for Ventura's new conspiracy show.
Backstage: Jesse Ventura was shown looking through his old wardrobe, then Randy Orton interrupted. Orton said he wants in that battle royal and he's the victim of a conspiracy from WWE. Ventura said he believes Orton is a victim, especially based on how the boss operates around here. Orton said he was tricked - bamboozled! - into signing a contract preventing a title shot against Cena. Ventura said he can't break the rules, though. He said Orton's had title shots, and the only guys who will get title shots are new guys. Ventura said he's proud of Orton for retiring these old guys. He said he never came back after he retired unlike "these other guys" who should have stayed retired. Ventura patted Orton on the back and told him to keep retiring them. And there's your shot at Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair.
In-ring: C.M. Punk came to the ring. They're already going with Punk vs. John Cena. Interesting. Punk took the mic and said he's thankful for being straight-edge. Boos from the crowd. He said he's thankful it makes him different and he doesn't want to be person X or person Y in the crowd. Punk said he's no drugs, no alcohol, and no meds. It means he's better than you. Punk said T-Giving's biggest vice is gluttony. He listed the items from the usual menu, which drew some laughs and applause. Punk said people are going to eat too much, then pop a pill, take a liquid antacid, then decide, "Hey, I need dessert!" Punk said the typical person isn't as strong as he is. He said the people can be him or continue being lazy, drug-consumers. "Three cheers for mediocrity," he said. Punk said he's facing a turkey named John Cena tonight. He did the "You Can't See Me" motion and said he will see Cena. Good crowd reaction for Punk, who delivered a solid promo playing to his character. Cole said for the first-time-ever, it's Punk vs. Cena up next.
[Commercial Break. An ad for the series finale of "Jon & Kate +8" aired in the middle of the break. Apparently that's why WWE booked Cena here to keep female viewers on Raw instead of switching to TLC in ten minutes.]
In-ring: Back from break, John Cena's music hit to a typically strong reaction. Feels like a kids and family type crowd in Hershey. Cole said the winner of the battle royal - if from Raw - faces Cena for the WWE Title at TLC. Before the opening bell, Punk threw his t-shirt at Cena, who casually tossed it away before tossing his own new t-shirt to the crowd.
3 -- WWE champion JOHN CENA vs. C.M. PUNK -- non-title match
Punk played a good heel waiting for the right moment to lock up initially. Punk landed a series of kicks early on before yelling at someone in the front row to shut up. The momentary distraction allowed Cena to make a brief comeback before setting up the STF, but Punk easily escaped and slipped to the floor for a breather. Cena did the "this close" sign to Punk going to break.
[Commercial Break. ECW TV plug for the fall-out from Survivor Series.]
Back from break, Punk was in control as the announcers talked about Punk cutting his teeth on Raw last year. Punk continued his methodical attack, but Cena fired back at 7:45 with his usual comeback routine. Cena dropped Punk center ring and delivered the Five Knuckle Shuffle at the top of the hour.
[Q5 -- second hour (standard first hour)]
Cena teased the FU, but Punk escaped the finisher and wanted the G2S. Cena countered that, though, and slapped on the STF in center ring. Punk reached the ropes for a break, then came to his feet and nailed a kick strike that KO'ed Cena. Punk made a cover, but Cena kicked out. Punk followed with a high knee in the corner, but Cena predictably countered the bulldog and tossed Punk across the ring. Both men were down and out, then Cena pulled himself up to the top rope and hit the guillotine leg drop. Cena made a cover, but Punk kicked out. Good nearfall. Cena and Punk reset the action and Punk nailed a leaping leg strike for a two count of his own. Punk then airballed a flying splash in the corner and remained draped across the top turnbuckle. Cena then climbed up top and put Punk on his shoulders to deliver a top rope FU Attitude Adjustment. The big spot of the night led to Cena making a cover for the win.
WINNER: Cena at 12:00. The theme of the show is new blood, but everyone knew the same finish was coming with Cena winning. That said, Punk had enough offense to remain credible and come out of this looking strong combined with the pre-match promo. Of note, Raw 3, Smackdown 0 in matches tonight. (**3/4)
Recap: Cole and Lawler opening segment with Ventura
Backstage: Vince McMahon walked in to shake hands with Jesse Ventura. Oh boy. McMahon said he respectfully declined Roddy Piper's offer for a match last week until he receives better competition. Ventura asked why he would stoop down to McMahon's level to challenge him to a match. He said when he was a wrestler, McMahon was just an announcer. Ventura said he wants to hit McMahon below the belt tonight. McMahon laughed and said it must be a guest role on the new show. Ventura said he knows there's plenty of conspiracies around WWE, no doubt. But, that's not it. Ventura said tonight is a throwback when they go back to their pasts. He's not going to wrestle him, but do what his father did to him. Ventura said he's one of the few who remember Senior in charge. He had so little confidence in Vince - no matchmaking duties or business operations responsibilities - because Senior didn't believe in Vince, which is why he made him an announcer where he wouldn't get in any trouble. Vince did the big gulp. Ventura said that's what they're going to do tonight. Back on the mics together. Just like the old days. McMahon grimaced and said Ventura hasn't changed one bit. Ventura said he runs the show and here's a new tuxedo. Ventura said they're going back to what Vince's father thought he could do. Ventura then pulled out a big red bowtie. Bob Backlund. Ventura said if he's not Bozo the Clown, he's his twin brother. That's it, Ventura or someone in WWE must have listened to the VIP-exclusive Bruce Mitchell Audio Show on Friday talking Vince's early history in WWE.
In-ring: Jack Swagger, Chris Masters, and Chavo Guerrero were already in the ring for a jobber role apparently. Oh, Swagger. How far you have fallen. The winning tag team automatically qualifies for the battle royal. No McMahon and Ventura yet. Out came MVP, Mark Henry, and R-Truth to MVP's music for the qualifying match.
4 -- JACK SWAGGER & CHRIS MASTERS & CHAVO GUERRERO vs. MVP & MARK HENRY & R-TRUTH -- Breakthrough qualifying match
Swagger and MVP started things off against each other while Cole and Lawler chuckled about McMahon and Ventura replacing them later on. Masters tagged in and a few fans audibly chanted "steroids" at the Masterpiece. Chavo then entered and worked over MVP. Masters was back in when MVP escaped to bring in Truth. Lawler appeared to say "Hard Truth" as R-Truth cleaned house leading to a break down. Henry then scooped up Chavo and press-slammed him over the top rope onto Masters. Where's Jeremy Piven when you need him? Back in the ring, Truth nailed the Lie Detector spinning fist creating-movement finisher on Masters for the win.
WINNERS: Truth & MVP & Henry to advance to the battle royal at 3:05. No surprise here. We could use a match where the outcome is in doubt. Four very predictable match outcomes thus far. (1/2*)
Backstage: DX was shown on-camera for the first time as they were assembled at the T-Giving. Triple H was staring a hole into Shawn Michaels, who was back to playing his little sidekick role. Michaels apologized for "the kick" last night. He reasoned he thought Hunter was going to Pedigree him first anyways. "Ya, but...don't try to turn this around on me!" Hunter said. He said Michaels superkicked him three times. Michaels said he was really aiming for Cena. Someone cleared his throat, then a dwarf entered the scene and handed Michaels a lawsuit from Hornswoggle. Next week, it's little people's court. Hunter said with a straight face, "That's awfully short notice." Crowd laughed slightly. Michaels said it puts a little damper on Thanksgiving. They both stared off into space to close the segment. And so ends the teased dissension for now.
ECW plug: WWE advertised ECW champ Christian will explain how he plans to "Steal the show" at the TLC PPV next month. ECW back on PPV, apparently.
In-ring: Evan Bourne came to the ring for another qualifying match. Carlito was out as his opponent. Suddenly, Randy Orton jumped Primo from behind and smashed him to the floor below the stage. Orton stomped Primo to the ground before stomping into the ring. Orton said he's in this match now. He demanded the bell ring. Jesse Ventura then appeared on-screen with an old-school photo of McMahon and Ventura on commentary over his shoulder. Ventura said rules are made to be broken and he's going to cave in by breaking a rule tonight. He said if Orton wins, he'll put him in the battle royal. Ventura said persistency pays off. Lawler was shocked Ventura would go back on his word.
5 -- RANDY ORTON vs. EVAN BOURNE -- Breakthrough qualifying match
The battle for St. Louis started with Orton trying to score quick early pins, but Bourne fired back with a double knee smash off the top rope for a close two count. Orton then caught Bourne off the ropes with a powerslam. He teased the RKO and he dropped Bourne center ring. He made the cover for the win.
WINNER: Orton at 1:28 to qualify for the #1 contender match. Seems like the set-up for Orton and Kofi to cost each other the battle royal to set up a singles match at the PPV. Or, worst-case scenario, we get another Cena-Orton match. That's the question for the end of the show to keep viewers tuned in - will fans be subjected to another round of Cena vs. Orton? (n/a)
Video package: They went old-school with tons and tons of clips of Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura wearing costumes and Ventura's one-liners to play up their announcer feud. These weekly flashback videos seem to be a subtle way of building interest for the WWE TV channel and/or Classics-on-Demand.
Backstage: Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, and Melina were shown wearing divas-style Thanksgiving costumes for the expected Indians and Pilgrims match. Yep, you knew this was coming.
The Marine 2 plug: Cole randomly inserted a plug for the debut of the "Marine 2" video trailer. Lots of exotic shots. DiBiase's character, a Marine, at a VIP party. The party turned upside down by terrorists wearing funny-looking split-faced masks from a warped Superstars video intro. DiBiase, a Marine on vacation, was shown in the same action sequences from the first one starring John Cena.
Backstage: Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase were shown backstage talking about who knows what while Cole did a voice-over that they have a shot at the battle royal against Cryme Tyme later in the show. They always look like goofs with this presentation. It needs to be scratched from the script.
In-ring: Michelle McCool, Jillian Hall, and Layla came to the ring wearing full Pilgrim outfits covering up themselves up. All three looked frumpy walking to the ring with some very soft, soothing music that drew laughs. They should look more happy because they actually got to wear clothes. Anyways, Michelle took the mic and said she wasn't happy and said this was the stupidest idea ever from Ventura. Justin Roberts interrupted and introduced the Gobbledygooker as the special guest timekeeper. Cole went nuts going back to the 1990 Survivor Serie for GD's debut. We're officially in filler mode after a good start to the show.
In-ring: Gooker was shown on-camera back from break, so they went back to old-school footage of Gene Okerlund trying to sell an unsuspecting audience at the Hartford Civic Center on the super surprise of the Gooker. Poor Okerlund trying to sell that. The Hartford market was never quite the same after that. Cue up Tatanka's theme music bringing out the Indians - Mickie, Kelly, and Melina. WWE presented the Indians as babyfaces, you know, so the segment wasn't entirely politically incorrect.
6 -- INDIANS (Divas champion MELINA & KELLY KELLY & MICKIE JAMES) vs. PILGRIMS (Women's champion MICHELLE MCCOOL & LAYLA & JILLIAN HALL)
The match went about two minutes, then Michelle and Layla bailed from ringside fed up with the outfits and Jillian. Jillian then walked into a pin to give the Indians the win. Jerry Lawler was excited for the Indians to actually win something. Post-match: the Gooker entered the ring to celebrate with Lawler and Melina. Melina was having a good time, then the Gooker suddenly jumped Melina to reveal...Maryse. And we have a big return on the show. Maryse beat down Melina for a while, then took off the Gooker outfit to officially welcome herself back on the show. Perhaps Miz has a shot with her now that he has a title belt.
WINNERS: Indians at 2:08. Your basic WWE divas match focusing on looks and silliness more than actual wrestling. Up next for the Divas division: Melina vs. Maryse. (n/a)
Up next: DX vs. Hart Dynasty.
[Commercial Break. Looks like a 2009 version of Duck Hunt is in the works. Never mind, some other hunting game.]
In-ring: Silence, then DX's theme music hit near the top of the third hour. Michaels led the troops to the ring chucking glowsticks into the crowd. Cole told the viewers DX is on the same page, trying to quench any thoughts of a DX split. "Don't get your hopes up," Cole basically said. Cue up the Bret Hart theme remix to bring out Tyson Kidd and D.H. Smith with Natalya leading the way.
7 -- DX (SHAWN MICHAELS & TRIPLE H) vs. HART DYNASTY (TYSON KIDD & D.H. SMITH w/Natalya)
The bell sounded and we start with Kidd vs. Michaels. If Michaels is still around in three years, this could be a PPV main event. Cole reminded viewers Natalya is the daughter of Jim Niedhart, which prompted a harmless shot from Lawler that she got her looks from her mom rather than Jim.
[Q9 -- third hour (second standard hour)]
HD took control at the top of the usual second hour with Smith and Kidd exchanging tags working over Michaels. Hunter then took a tag at 4:00 and cleaned house on Kidd. Hunter followed with spinebusters on both men before trying to pump up the lethargical crowd for this match. The action broke down, then Michaels smashed Kidd with the superkick to set up Hunter for the Pedigree on Kidd for the pin and the win. Afterward, Hunter helped Michaels to his feet and DX posed.
WINNERS: DX at 4:58. Another predictable match. HD got a slight rub, but the post-match was more important. (*)
Post-match: Chris Jericho's music hit and he walked out on stage in a suit with his two tag belts over his shoulders. Jericho mockingly applauded DX before announcing Jericho and Big Show vs. DX for the Unified tag titles at TLC. Jericho said Big Show is on a personal vacation day today (surgery for real) - and Hunter interrupted. Hunter said he knows Show is over at the Hershey factory and he's stuck there because he ate too much. Jericho said everything is just a laugh for them two, but this is serious. Michaels interrupted and said this is serious because one thing Ventura didn't mention is that at the next TLC PPV, there will be table matches, there will be ladder matches, and there will be chair matches. Michaels said JeriShow's Unified tag titles will be on the line against DX in a TLC match. Jericho had enough of the DX routine and cut off their catchphrase. He said he is the best in the world at what he does. Jericho said this isn't about merchandise, fart jokes, or little people. He said DX has never been tag champs despite all their accomplishments. The crowd chanted "DX, DX" and Jericho told the audience to keep chanting that name because DX will be back to selling their useless merchandise after TLC. Jericho said as long as he has these tag titles, DX never - eeeever - will. No, he didn't do the "eeever." So close. Jericho stared DX down to close the segment. Thank goodness for Jericho being part of DX's next feud to give a serious feel to their program.
Backstage: They cut to a shot of heel Batista slowly walking down the hallway sporting giant Macho Man Randy Savage aviator sunglasses.
[Commercial Break. Smackdown TV taping in Houston next month - C.M. Punk, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio being advertised. Same three they've been advertising for a few months.]
In-ring: Back from break, Rey Mysterio's music hit. Announcers were surprised to see Rey here, but Batista walked out instead. Batista smirked, then slowly walked to the ring to no music. Batista took the mic and said Rey won't be joining us tonight because Rey will be spending Thanksgiving in a hospital bed. He said Rey only has himself to blame. Batista said he gave Rey the chance to walk away and he didn't. Instead, Rey decided to be a tough guy and disrespect him. So, he had to powerbomb Rey to send a message. Batista said someone from Raw better win the battle royal because he's going to destroy a Smackdown wrestler if he wins. (The only qualifier thus far is R-Truth vs. five Raw guys.) He said Undertaker is his and no one will stop him. Cue up Kane's music to interrupt Batista's promo.
Kane entered the ring and wanted to know what it looks like to disrespect Batista. He said he hopes interrupting him constitutes disrespect because he wants to see what Batista will do about it. "Please, Dave, please make an example out of me," Kane said. Batista continued to lock eyes with Kane before dropping his mic and smiling. Batista slowly backed away, then made a right turn out of the ring to a chorus of boos. That's one way to ensure he stays heel. Announcers remained silent as Batista walked up the ramp to shrieks from the kids. Kane then did his pyro to send a message to Batista.
In-ring: Cryme Tyme came to the ring for the breakthrough qualifying match. It's the final qualifying match tonight. Out as their opponents were Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes.
8 -- CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPARD & JTG) vs. LEGACY (CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE) -- Breakthrough qualifying match
Cole and Lawler announced McMahon and Ventura will be back calling the action for the main event battle royal. After about three minutes of bland action, DiBiase dropped Shad with Dream Street to make the pin. Legacy now with three men in the #1 contender battle royal.
WINNERS: Legacy at 3:01. Just a tag match. This show has felt like complete filler since Punk-Cena. (1/2*)
Announcers: Cole and Lawler did a voice-over on a graphic for the eight qualifiers for the #1 contender match. Winner signs the championship contract to face Cena after the battle royal. It's all up next.
Jeff Hardy DVD plug: The first video plug for the upcoming Jeff Hardy DVD aired. John Morrison was shown talking from the studio. They included home clips of Hardy's family and friends talking. They showed a clip of Hardy's burned-down house in rubble. DVD out next Tuesday. That's a few days before his next court date.
Smackdown plug: Batista vs. Kane for Smackdown the day after Thanksgiving. WWE with another Turkey-Day special episode, according to Cole.
Backstage: They went back to the Thanksgiving set for Gail Kim and Alicia Fox to cut promos on each other. Gail then picked up a pie. Alicia picked up a pie. Santino interrupted sporting a new goatee. He said he wants to see all of the divas come together in unity. Gail and Alicia came together in unity...by smashing their pies in Santino's face. The Bella Twins walked in to help Santino, but they smashed him with pies when he insulted them. Eve giggled and wiped down Santino, but he insulted her so she smashed him with a pie. Vickie Guerrero then walked in and Santino accidentally smashed her with a pie. Of course, Vickie gets it in the end.
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the #1 contender battle royal, but brought out Jesse Ventura first. Ventura wanted to turn back time 20 years ago to the then-World Wrestling Federation. He brought back his broadcast partner, Vince McMahon. Out came McMahon in a tuxedo with the big red bowtie. Looked like a butler combined with Bob Backlund. McMahon on the magical headsets. McMahon and Ventura traded verbal blows, then Kofi Kingston's music hit. Kofi came to the ring and they awkwardly cut to a break.
#1 contender Battle Royal qualifiers
-- Kofi Kingston (Raw) beat Dolph Ziggler (SD)
-- Sheamus (Raw) beat Finlay (SD)
-- MVP (Raw), Henry (Raw), and R-Truth (SD) beat Swagger, Chavo, and Masters (Raw)
-- Randy Orton (Raw) beat Evan Bourne (Raw)
-- Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes (Raw) beat Cryme Tyme (SD)
9 -- BREAKTHROUGH BATTLE ROYAL -- #1 contender match
Back from break, everyone was in the ring except for Randy Orton, who slowly walked out to the ring to get the match started. Sheamus stood out early on for just waiting back in the corner looking to pick his spot. McMahon with a quick unintentional plug for the new "Blind Side" movie, saying the key to a battle royal is to protect your blindside. Meanwhile, Orton slipped to the outside and waited for his moment. McMahon and Ventura traded barbs while the action slowed to a crawl. They followed with a debate on the WWE refs allowing Orton to stay on the outside. Ventura told McMahon to hire new refs, while McMahon shot back that Ventura has power. And so the dilemma of absolute power in the Raw storylines continues. And out went R-Truth via Sheamus at 2:55 for the first elimination. Batista doesn't have to worry about anything tonight. Ventura said the only problem he has with Sheamus is he needs a suntan. MVP was then knocked out of the match. Henry teased eliminating Sheamus, but Legacy saved Sheamus.
At 4:00, Henry eliminated both members of Legacy. Sheamus then snuck up behind Henry to dump him out. So now it's Orton, Sheamus, and Kofi. A graphic flashed "Voices of: Jesse Ventura, Vince McMahon." Thanks for the heads up, WWE. Kofi and Orton paired off against each other, then Sheamus tried to get involved, but Orton dropped Sheamus with the fallaway backbreaker. Orton then tried to eliminate Kofi, but Kofi skinned the cat and eliminated Orton. Orton did the big bug eyes after being eliminated. WWE stayed with a camera shot of Kofi and Orton, then Sheamus came up from behind Kofi and eliminated him for the win.
WINNER: Sheamus at 6:23 to become #1 contender. And there's the earlier prediction coming through with WWE building up Sheamus as a monster to be a threat to John Cena and the WWE Title. Absolutely boring first three minutes, then a decent finish focusing on Orton-Kofi. Legacy, meanwhile, was a complete afterthought despite being in there with their leader, Orton. Time to hit the reset on Legacy. (3/4*)
Post-match: McMahon and Ventura were shown on-camera with Ventura talking about officiating the contract signing coming up next. McMahon asked, "Are you going to be naked?" I have no idea where that came from if I heard that right. Ventura, "Sometimes you make no sense at all." Cut to break with Sheamus celebrating while fully clothed. Well, as fully clothed as a wrestler wearing trunks can be.
Next week: Michael Cole was back to plug "Mini Me" Verne Tryor hosting Raw next week. Verne will apparently officiate the "Little People's Court" with Hornswoggle and DX. Cole also noted Tryor is from Baltimore. Well, still would rather have Baltimore's Stacy Keibler, who claims she was no-sold by WWE.
In-ring: Jesse Ventura hosted the contract signing with Sheamus in the ring pumping himself up. Ventura then called out John Cena to meet Sheamus at the contract table. Cena sat down and smiled while Sheamus stood and demanded respect.
[Q13 -- over-run]
Cena just continued to sit casually in his office chair rotating back and forth. He's heard "#1 contender" so many times before, usually from guys like Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, or Triple H. Now, Sheamus wants to be taken seriously. Why, because you crippled a harmless announcer? (Wiat, Jerry Lawler is crippled?) Cena asked Sheamus if he's going to beat up Michael Cole or a cameraman next. Cena stood up and said he's hung with the best for eight years and he's proud to be champion. It wasn't because he likes to prey on the weak, but because he earned it. Cena fully in Cena Promo Mode saying this is his life, his passion, and all that he's got. "You want serious? You got serious!" Cena shouted in Sheamus's face. Cena said he's stood toe-to-toe with the best, meanest, and baddest, but every one of them has been compromised.
Cena went back to normal voice telling Sheamus to take a good look at that contract and know he's going to war. Sheamus shot Cena a cartoonish look, then had something to tell Cena. He said he retires people because he can. "I beat up Hall of Famers because I can," he said. Sheamus said it's nothing compared to what he's going to do to Cena. Sheamus dropped the mic and Cena flipped off his baseball cap as Ventura tried to calm them down. Cena then took off his t-shirt and tossed it into the crowd before Sheamus affixed his signature to the contract. Cena then signed it and Ventura held up the signed contract to announce the match for the heavyweight championship. Actually, it's for the WWE Title. But, anyways. Ventura said he thinks there's a conspiracy to keep Cena champion with the looks, commercials, endorsements, etc. He said there was a time he didn't get a title shot because he was a rebel. "They don't want that as a champion," he said. Ventura shouted that he never got a shot at the title. Cena walked over to Ventura, but Sheamus kicked Cena in the head to KO him. "Look at your champion," Ventura called out as Sheamus rammed Cena into the corner ringpost. Sheamus then took Cena over to the contract table and powerslammed him through the table. "And guess what, this match will be a tables match for the title," Ventura declared. Sheamus pounded his chest and raised his arms in the air to draw some boos from the crowd. Sheamus then grabbed the title belt and held it high in the air as they closed the show. PYB (3) talk time: 8:30. Effective segment to establish Sheamus, but the audience wasn't totally buying into him. This segment should help, as he was presented as a credible threat to Cena, who delivered a great promo with a much different tone than the silly Survivor Series build-up with DX.
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