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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 2/1: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Royal Rumble fall-out hosted by William Shatner

Feb 1, 2010 - 10:15:49 PM

WWE Raw Live Report
February 1, 2009
Live from Nashville, Tenn.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

This week's WWE Raw started with an In Memory for Jack Brisco. The Raw show started with a graphic for Bret Hart confronting Mr. McMahon. And William Shatner guest hosts.

In-ring: After Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler did voice-overs, Justin Roberts introduced Edge to start the show. Cole hyped Edge returning to WWE at last night's Rumble as Edge confidently strutted to the ring with the Rumble victory in hand. Once Edge's music stopped, there was a vocal mixed reaction. "I'm baaaack," Edge said. Edge said he's back, not just in WWE, but in the main event of WrestleMania.

Edge said he wants to go back to about six months when Chris Jericho and he had just won the Unified tag titles, then he was injured. Edge said the doctors had him coming back in March, April, May, June, or maybe never. He said he was sitting at home seven weeks ago and he watched Jericho thank him for getting injured at the Slammy Awards show. Edge said he sat there watching Jericho making light of his injury and the room got very silent. He said the room didn't get silent because Dennis Miller made another lame joke, but because he made a vow to never miss another WrestleMania. Edge shouted that he realized who he is and he is the ultimate opportunist. Boos for that, actually.

Edge said he rehabbed his butt off and he promised himself to enter the Rumble and win it. Edge said Jericho has his Slammy... and his mug shot on TMZ. Oh no he didn't. Meanwhile, he has his ticket to WrestleMania. Edge said he faced The Undertaker two years ago. And he lost. He said unlike Shawn Michaels, he can have Taker again if he wants him. Edge asked if the smart thing would be to go after the guy who's 17-0 at Mania or go after the guy who's never competed at WrestleMania (Sheamus). He said he could make a call tonight or wait until after the Elimination Chamber to make his decision. Edge said one thing he does know is that the Rated-R superstar will headline WrestleMania. He took his time allowing this words to sink in, then his music hit.

Suddenly, Sheamus's music hit to bring out the WWE champion and put a smile on Edge's face. Cole said a "miscommunication" by Legacy allowed Sheamus to retain the WWE Title. Once Sheamus entered the ring to boos, then he told Edge a lot of things have changed since he's been gone. Edge said, yeah, Raw's been taken over by an evil Ronald McDonald. That got a babyface pop. Sheamus told him to be careful with his words, and by the way, he beat Cena for the WWE Title unlike Edge at WrestleMania. Edge stopped Sheamus and said he's beaten Cena and Randy Orton. Sheamus cut him off and said he's walking out of the Elimination Chamber still WWE champion. And if he can beat Cena and Orton, he won't break a sweat with Edge.

Sheamus told Edge to run off to Smackdown before he rips his head off. Edge sneered at him and didn't move. Sheamus asked if he's deaf, then Edge got in his face as Sheamus threatened to put him back on the shelf. Sheamus then popped him with the mic and clotheslined him to the mat. Sheamus then measured Edge for his bicycle kick, but Edge countered with a spear and repeated punches to the face. Edge then ripped off his leather jacket and snapped into Edge mode in the corner. Edge wanted the spear and he blasted him center ring. The crowd popped as Edge crouched on the mat doing his Edge facial expressions as Sheamus held his gut to sell the pain. Edge then left the ring as the replayed the high points with Sheamus still selling in the ring.

JC: Interesting initial reaction to Edge, who was mainly booed and had some cheers before Sheamus came out. Apparently WWE fans still remember all of the horrible things Edge's character did before his injury. Seeds were planted for Edge vs. Sheamus, but that feels more like a Raw TV main event than a WrestleMania title match. Edge looked good other than a few moments to shake off the rust. PYB (3) talk time: 9:30.

Announcers: They went to a wide shot of Nashville sights and sounds as Cole talked about the Elimination Chamber where Sheamus will defend the WWE Title. Apparently Bill Shatner made that call? Or maybe Teddy Long? Or perhaps Hornswoggle. Or a racecar driver. Who knows.

Chamber video: They plugged the Elimination Chamber PPV with various highlight clips from the history of the match.

Back live: They showed John Cena walking down the hallway. Lawler did a voice-over saying all of the matches on tonight's show will be EC qualifying matches. Cena is next.


[Commercial Break. First spot was a William Shatner ad for Priceline. Shock, I know.]

In-ring: John Cena came out after the break to a typically strong reaction for the first EC qualifying match. Cole plugged Cena's strong ratings on the season premiere of "Psych" on Wednesday. They even plugged Stacy Keibler guest-starring on "Psych" this week. First subtle plug for her to guest host down the line. Cody Rhodes then came out to face Cena.

1 -- JOHN CENA vs. CODY RHODES -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Cody was on the advantage early on working over Cena as the announcers talked about him costing Randy Orton the WWE Title match on Sunday. Cena was heard audibly calling a spot before Cody missed with a knee drop and Cena started his usual comeback routine. Cody then countered the sit-out slam and rolled up Cena for a two count. Cena then grabbed him right away and hit a sit-out slam to do the You Can't See Me routine. Cody then walked right into the Attitude Adjustment, but he slipped out and hit a left-arm clothesline for a two count. Lawler was off, continuing to call Cody as Randy Orton, as Cody hit a top rope moonsault for a two count. Cena then came right back with the Attitude Adjustment out of the corner and scored the pin for the win.

WINNER: Cena at 2:52 to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match. No shock on this finish. Cody had some offense, but the memorable takeaway was him looking silly seemingly moving in fast-forward selling for Cena's unrealistic move sequences. Cena's sequences looked particularly unrealistic in this fast-paced match. (1/2*)

Video package: They went back to Survivor Series 1997 for a lengthy look at Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart with Earl Hebner calling for the bell. Oh, look, there's TNA's competitive advantage. They showed Bret Hart spitting down at McMahon and Hart holding his pose on the ropes selling disbelief.

Backstage: They showed Mr. McMahon walking down the hallway and Josh Mathews stopped him to ask if he's seen Bret Hart tonight. McMahon said he hasn't seen Hart and he doubts very seriously Hart will show up. McMahon then walked into his office and stared at the wall for some reason. He then turned around and said, "Well, what a surprise," to someone off-camera. McMahon asked the person who he thinks he is. He told the "Canadian" to just say whatever it is to get it off his chest. The camera panned left to reveal William Shatner. Shatner paused for a crowd pop, then he said in his classic way of speaking that as a fellow Canadian and as a human being, he can't wait for Bret Hart to embarrass him tonight. "Lousy guest hosts," McMahon muttered under his breath as Shatner walked off.

[Commercial Break]


In-ring: Jack Swagger came to the ring for another qualifying match. Once Swagger hit the ring, there was a pause before Triple H's music hit. Rare to hear his classic theme music during the current DX run. No sign of his Unified tag title belts, although the graphic reminded us DX is holding the belts hostage. Hunter hit the ring after Cole brainlessly plugged his "legendary status." Hunter then did his complete ring intro with the water spitting and spotlight. Hunter vs. Swagger is an interesting match-up and would be a bigger deal if WWE actually built up Swagger.

2 -- TRIPLE H vs. JACK SWAGGER -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Here's an interesting stat. Hunter is 14-1 on the year and Swagger is 0-14 coming into the match. Hunter's only 2010 loss was not winning the Rumble last night. The bell sounded and Swagger quickly put Hunter in a waistlock and put him on the mat. Swagger then did push-ups to antagonize Hunter. Swagger taunted Hunter, who then cold-cocked him with a right hand before hitting a high knee. Hunter then knocked Swagger to the floor going to break one minute into the match.

[Commercial Break. Charles Barkley rhyming in a commercial - WWE needs Chuck hosting Raw.]

Back from break, Jack Swagger was in control, then the action moved to the floor where Swagger took control. Back in the ring, Swagger hit a standing powerslam before locking in a rear chinlock. Swagger then went for a running Vader Bomb out of the corner, but Hunter got his knees up to block. Swagger then got up and took right hand blows from Hunter, who hit a jawbreaker across his knee. Hunter then landed right hand blows in the corner before catching Swagger out of the corner for a spinebuster and a two count. Swagger was straight winded at this point, then Hunter teased the Pedigree, but Swagger back dropped out. Swagger then went for another running Vader Bomb and Hunter kicked out just before three. Hunter then walked into a belly-to-belly suplex and Hunter kicked out again. Swagger followed with shoulder thrusts in the corner, but he got carried away and lost focus - which seems to be the typical way every young wrestler is booked to lose in WWE - allowing Hunter to counter a back drop into the Pedigree. Hunter made the cover for the win. After the match, they showed Hunter celebrating the victory with a determined look on his face.

WINNER: Triple H at 9:10 to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. Surprise! Cena and Hunter are in the Chamber. Match was just okay, as they seemed to just be calling random spots at the end. Not sure if it was unfamiliarity between Hunter and Swagger in the ring or Swagger's inexperience, but it wasn't smooth at times. I'm not sure what it is with Swagger right now, but he just seems off. Being pushed down the ladder for eight months on Raw probably hasn't helped his psyche. Updated stats: Hunter 15-1 and Swagger 0-15 on the year. Eek. (*)

Up next: Another usual suspects match, this time Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels to find out who qualifies for the Chamber. That's a PPV match right there.

Royal Rumble video recap: Beth Phoenix eliminating Great Khali, C.M. Punk's mid-match promo, Shawn Michaels eliminating Triple H and tons of other folks, but then Batista eliminating Michaels and the dream being crushed. Edge then surprised everyone at #29 and they plugged the Rumble encore


[Commercial Break]

Shatner video package: They did a comical dramatic video with shots of William Shatner sitting in a chair before doing his "voice" with renditions of WWE wrestlers's theme music. He started with Shawn Michaels's "Sexy Boy" theme song. They had the usual tight profile zooms from the Priceline commercials. Shatner then did John Cena's "The Time is Now." He followed with Rey Mysterio's theme. Of course, Triple H's "The Game." They included a Photoshopped album cover with Shatner signing themes "coming soon." It wasn't a bomb, but it was a comedy stretch as they try to find some use for Shatner on the show.

Locker room: Shawn Michaels was sitting in a chair staring at the ground and Triple H walked in and wanted a second to talk. Hornswoggle then interrupted and told Hunter about Shatner screwing with his music. Hunter told him to run off. "About last night," Hunter said before asking Michaels about superkicking him out of the Rumble. Hunter joked that he would have done it too. Michaels wasn't buying the humor. Apparently nothing bothers Hunter now. Michaels said he was supposed to win the Rumble, go to Mania, and beat The Streak. Hunter told Michaels to get it out of his head because he's going nuts including superkicking a ref. Hunter told Michaels he was fined (thank you for the consequences follow-up) and he was nearly suspended tonight. Hunter told Michaels that they need to focus on the Elimination Chamber and he has no problem winning the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber, then tearing down the house together at WrestleMania. Michaels took the pep talk and walked off, leaving Hunter to watch his little buddy walk off.

In-ring: Cue up Randy Orton's theme music. Now that would have been a theme for Shatner to mess with. Orton slowly made his way to the ring as they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

ECW plug: Who is the ECW champion after Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson? They had a different voice-over man with a deeper, darker voice to begin the changes to the ECW brand.

Video package: They replayed highlights from the Orton vs. Sheamus match from the Rumble last night with Orton snapping on Legacy after Cody cost him the match. Lawler said you can't blame Orton for being upset.

[Q5 -- second hour]

In-ring: At the top of the hour, Orton was shown staring into space with disgust before Shawn Michaels came out to his standard "Sexy Boy" theme music. Michaels bounced to the ring and posed as Orton stared down at the floor.

3 -- RANDY ORTON vs. SHAWN MICHAELS -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

The bell sounded and they had a brief stare down before locking up. Orton drove Michaels to the corner, then he broke and Michaels glared at him with his John Wayne ice-cold look. Orton met him with an equally-icy glare before missing with a right hand and Michaels landed a knife-edge chop to the chest. Michaels then hit a neckbreaker and teased the superkick, but Orton bailed to the floor. Michaels followed and the chase was on back into the ring where Orton teased the spike DDT, but Michaels blocked, landed a chop, and went up top where he hit a flying cross-body block for a two count. Orton then sent Michaels upside down in the corner before hitting the fallaway backbreaker to focus his attack on Michaels's lower back, which prompted Michael Cole's standard back injury history lesson.

Orton slowed things down with a focused attack as the announcers talked about both men being in a fragile state of mind. Orton then took Michaels up top, but Michaels knocked Orton off the top with forearm strikes before hitting a flying elbow drop. Michaels then went to the corner to tune up the band at 6:00, but Orton ducked and teased the RKO, only to have Michaels hit an atomic drop and chop combo twice. Michaels then flew off the ropes with a trademark flying elbow smash. He was about to do the classic kip up, but Orton grabbed him in mid-air and rolled up Michaels for the surprise pin and the win.

Post-match: Orton walked out of the ring pleased with himself in his own way while Michaels fought himself on screwing up again. Orton's music stopped and Michaels walked around the ring in frustration. Michaels ripped off his wrist bands and stomped out of the ring muttering to himself. The announcers talked about it being a frustrating 24 hours as Michaels disappeared in the back.

WINNER: Orton at 6:37 to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match. Only went seven minutes, but it felt like a longer match. Great storytelling from both men and a great finish with the flurry at the end before Orton made the big counter. If only someone would roll up Cena on the "You Can't See Me" hand wave. Michaels's post-match storytelling was well done to hook viewers on what's next. (** mainly for the story.)

Survivor Series reminder: They showed Vince McMahon's "Bret Screwed Bret" interview with clips of Survivor Series 1997. Apparently WWE will be airing these reminders every week Hart is booked on Raw leading to whatever the WrestleMania program is.

[Commercial Break]

WrestleMania video package: 55 days away presented by Slim Jim. No, let's not read into any Randy Savage coincidences.

Nashville plug: They showed a live bland performing in Nashville. Where's Jeremy Borash chasing down Jeff Jarrett?

Announcers: Cole and Lawler were shown on-camera to talk about Shawn Michaels's major disappointments lately. They talked solemnly about what's gone on with Michaels the last 24 hours.


Backstage: Ted DiBiase stopped Randy Orton and congratulated him on the win before apologizing for what happened last night. He said he can't speak for Cody, but he's sorry. Orton then got in his face and simply glared at him without saying a word. Orton as the silent assassin is great. Orton walked off, then DiBiase made a pouty face to sell his confusion.

In-ring: Mark Henry came out for the final qualifying match. Ted DiBiase was his opponent. DiBiase quietly walked out with the announcers saying he needs to get Orton out of his mind.

4 -- MARK HENRY vs. TED DIBIASE -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Henry dominated early on including shoulder blocks and a shove to the floor. DiBiase regrouped on the floor before yanking Henry's left arm into the ringpost. DiBiase then dropped Henry into the ring steps with a drop toe hold. He slid back into the ring at seven before going to work on Henry's left arm back in the ring. DiBiase then tried a top rope move, but Henry caught him in mid-air, only to have DiBiase slip out and yank Henry's arm across the top rope. DiBiase followed with a single arm DDT on the arm that put Henry on the mat. DiBiase then made the cover and Henry couldn't use his arm to kick out, giving DiBiase the win.

WINNER: DiBiase at 3:06 to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match. Not the most aesthetically-pleasing match, but a solid match from a "this is presented as a shoot match" perspective with DiBiase taking apart a body part that helped him win the match. Good to see DiBiase, a non-Usual Suspect, in the Chamber match. (*)

Backstage: They showed Big Show and Kofi Kingston warming up on a split-screen to hype the final Chamber qualifying match.

On-camera: Cole and Lawler were shown to talk about Jack Brisco's death. Lawler said he was a great man and gentleman. The audience applauded in the ring.

Video package: They rolled footage of Jack Brisco's amateur wrestling career and pro wrestling career as a singles and tag star. Lots of classic clips including Brisco's famous NWA Title victory in Houston. They showed clips of the Brisco Bros. body shop in Tampa, Fla. before rolling footage from the 2008 Hall of Fame when the Briscos were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Back live, the audience applauded as WWE flashed an "In Memory." A video recap won't do Brisco's career justice, but it was good for WWE's audience.

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Kelly Kelly was talking up Gail Kim ahead of her Divas Title match sometime in the future against Maryse. Maryse then walked in acting completely normal and gracious toward Gail. They were all dressed for a night on the town rather than wrestling, so apparently no match tonight. Gail and Kelly were puzzled at Maryse's normal demeanor after the exchange.


Shatner's office: Big Show was sitting on a chair with The Miz also in the room. Miz said he knows Shatner will give them a Unified tag title match on Raw. In walked C.M. Punk, Luke Gallows, and Serena to say they deserve a title match. Miz told Punk he's not even on the show. Suddenly, Shatner walked in and a graphic flashed for "Role match negotiator" like a Priceline commercial. A little too cute, but fine. Punk said they deserve a tag title match against DX. Shatner asked for Miz and Show's perspective. Miz said Punk & Co. aren't even on Raw. Shatner said it's a dilemma. Shatner said he'll decide by making a deal. Shatner then stood on the couch and proclaimed for next week: "triple threat - DX vs. Show & Miz vs. Punk & Gallows." Shatner said you just need to learn the language of the deal. He then stared into the camera and plugged Priceline and Wells Fargo. His face froze and he begged for a "freeze frame." He was stuck there and everyone left. Overall, not good, but it wasn't a "carry the show" segment.

Locker room: Triple H was trying to give Michaels another pep talk as HBK stared down at the ground. Hunter told him he's spiraling downward. "Hey, you are Mr. WrestleMania," Hunter told him. He told Michaels he can beat plenty of other guys at Mania. Michaels turned and looked at Hunter before saying, "Not for me." Michaels walked off, leaving Hunter frustrated.

In-ring: Kofi Kingston came out first for the final qualifying match.

Smackdown plug: The return of the Cutting Edge with guest host, The Undertaker.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Big Show came out to the ring to face Kofi Kingston. Before the bell could sound, The Miz's music hit to bring out the U.S. champion to join commentary.

5 -- KOFI KINGSTON vs. BIG SHOW -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Kofi tried to attack Show early on, but Show thwarted his attacks. Kofi then avoided a boot and Show was hung up in the ropes. Kofi dropkicked him off the ropes to the floor before they cut to break.

[Commercial Break. Plug for Stacy Keibler on "Psych" this Wednesday.]

Back live, Kofi tried to fight back on Show as Miz was congratulated for his U.S. Title victory over MVP last night at the Royal Rumble. Miz then left the commentary table to taunt Kofi on the floor before MVP jumped the guardrail in basketball shorts and a t-shirt to attack Miz. Their brawl went to the back as Lawler continued to defend Miz on commentary.

[Q8] After the confusion, back in the ring, Kofi went on the attack on Show including a Boom Drop for a two count. Kofi caught Show in the corner with punches, then Show sold a thumb to the eye. Show then turned around to blast Kofi with a right hand, but Kofi ducked and the ref sold a punch even though Show completely missed. Show realized his error and checked on the ref as ref #2 Scott Armstrong came down to the ring. He called for a DQ on Show, which upset Big Show. Show said he couldn't see after Kofi thumbed him in the eye. He then pleaded with Scott to reverse the decision. They replayed the finish with a reverse angle on Show's airballed punch to the ref. Meanwhile, Show screamed and yelled at the fans taunting him as he left. The ref was put on a stretcher with medics tending to him to sell the angle and Show's punch. "It was an accident!" Show shouted.

WINNER: Kofi Kingston via DQ at 8:20. That was the definition of a back-door entrance into a title match, as the focus remained on Big Show pleading his case that he shouldn't have lost. Kofi and Ted are the two new stars in the title situation, but Kofi has little momentum right now. Not a memorable match despite the distractions. (1/2*)

Video package: They rolled footage from January 4 when Bret Hart and Mr. McMahon came face-to-face in the ring. They showed McMahon celebrating with Hart before dropping him with the kick to the guts.

[Commercial Break]

Nashville shots: Michael Cole read a scripted plug for Nashville, then he plugged the six-man field of Sheamus, Cena, Hunter, DiBiase, Kofi, and Orton for the Elimination Chamber PPV. Cole then plugged Carl Edwards guest-hosting next week's Raw. And another plug for Unified tag champs DX vs. Punk & Luke vs. Miz & Big Show. Cole posed the question of whether Michaels's head will be in the game next week.

In-ring: Jerry Lawler was in the ring with his music playing. He said it's his honor to introduce tonight's Raw guest host, William Shatner. Shatner came out with the Bella Twins as Cole said without thought he's done a great job hosting tonight. Goodness, he booked one match the whole show and it was for next week. Shatner entered the ring and randomly tackled Lawler. They checked each other, then Shatner gave a rough intro for the "Excellence of execution, the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be" - Bret Hart. Cue up the Hart remix and out came Bret Hart sporting sunglasses, a leather jacket, a Hitman t-shirt, and jean pants this week. Hart had a serious look on his face as he made his way into the ring to shake Shatner's hand. It's still surreal to see Hart in a WWE ring.

[Q9 -- over-run]

At the top of the hour, Hart took the mic and surveyed the scene in the arena. He said it was a little over a month ago he was here. (Actually, less than a month.) Hart said he's had a month to think about things and he came here for all the right reasons. "12 years is a long time," he said. Hart said he came here to make peace and people told him he was crazy, even warned him, but he was a little too naive to maybe think he could really put it all behind him. Hart said he didn't come here to make peace or make closure, but to talk to Vince McMahon face-to-face. He told him to get his ass down to the ring or he'll come find him. Hart paced the ring with no sign of McMahon.

After a pause, McMahon bounced out on the stage doing some sort of pose while mocking Hart from a distance. McMahon then did the eight-pound grapefruits strut to the ringside area while sneering at Hart. McMahon then entered the ring and stood his ground in the corner as Hart slowly approached him. McMahon wanted to get a few things off his chest too. He said he's never regretted a thing he's said or done to Hart. "Congratulations, that's the first honest thing you've ever said to me," Hart said. "Vince McMahon, you are the world's greatest liar." Hart said McMahon lied to him in Montreal and a few weeks ago. He said McMahon lied when he said he was like a father to him. "You couldn't lace up my father's jock strap," Hart said. Hart then plugged John Cena, referencing Cena's promo about McMahon being pathetic. Hart said he knows all about pathetic because eight years ago, he suffered a stroke and every day he thought about what it would take to walk across the room. He said he somehow found the courage to get past it. He said he remembered sitting in the wheelchair crying himself to sleep thinking he was pathetic and he was determined to get up and never feel pathetic for the rest of his life. Big pop from the crowd.

Hart said he came here to WWE for all the right reasons. He offered McMahon his hand and he kicked him in the gut making him feel pathetic. "I got a problem with that," Hart said. He said he worked his butt off for McMahon for 14 years and he always said someday Vince McMahon will appreciate it. Hart said it took 20 years for him to build up a reputation that McMahon tore down in three minutes. He referenced McMahon's line about Hart was like chewing gum that had lost its flavor. He said this stick of chewing gum has just enough flavor to kick his ass right here, right now. Big pop and chants encouraging Bret to do just that.

McMahon then said he wants to be honest too. He said there's Bret Hart, no wait, Bret "the Hitman" Hart. Oh yeah, and "the excellence of execution," Bret Hart. McMahon then did the best there is, the best was, and the best there ever will be with a mocking tone. "What a crock!" McMahon did his classic heel voice. He said there's one other and that was up in Canada when he was recognized as a Canadian hero. McMahon feigned vomiting and said Hart's not a hero. "You're not a hero to anyone," McMahon said. The crows booed. McMahon said he wasn't done. He said he has no idea what the people see in Hart. McMahon said the people revere him, but he thinks Hart is pathetic. "You absolutely zero personality," McMahon said. He credited Shawn Michaels, Mr. Perfect, and Steve Austin as the personalities who pushed Hart up from the middle of the card. McMahon said Hart has no charisma, no command over the English language, that sour-face look, "stringy crappy hair," he's dressed like a hobo, and Hart deserves to be screwed. The fans booed as Hart surveyed the arena after taking McMahon's promo.

McMahon had one more thing to say. Last time they were face-to-face, he was willing to nominate Stu Hart for the Hall of Fame, but he re-thought it and that's not going to happen because he doesn't deserve it. Hart had enough and landed a kick to the gut before tackling McMahon to the ground. Cole had a horribly unenthusiastic line for the big moment in the angle. After a rough-looking exchange, Hart landed some worked punches, then he teased the Sharpshooter on McMahon. The fans wanted it as Hart struggled to apply his move, but then Batista stormed the ring and attacked Hart from behind with some soft worked punches that Hart wasn't selling.

Batista then put Hart on the mat and set him up for McMahon, who postured and posed before spitting in Hart's face. McMahon gets his scripted revenge for Survivor Series 1997. Hart closed his eyes as his hair covered his face with Batista still holding him up. The fans were audibly chanting, "Cena, Cena," which was the audio WWE wanted as they went off the air with McMahon pleased with himself as Hart slumped in Batista's arms as the fallen hero. They went off the air 13 minutes past the top of the hour.

JC: Hot closing angle to set up what we can educationally guess is the WrestleMania headline tag match of Cena & Hart vs. Batista & McMahon. Hart and McMahon had a rough time executing anything in the brief skirmish, so it's best to get them in a tag match where WWE can pick and choose Hart and McMahon's physical spots at WrestleMania with Cena and Batista doing most of the work. Typically great character-driven performances from Hart and McMahon in the final segment here. Good hook for next week's show to continue the feud. PYB (3) talk time: 13:05.

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 using our Feedback form.

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