The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 15, 2008
-Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show from ringside. They showed a wide shot of the age being lowered with big-event thunderous music as Cole said this is the first time in Raw history a show is opening with a World Title match in a cage. Lawler looked like a wide-eyed kid watching a space ship land as the cage lowered – which is a good thing as it made it out to be a genuine big deal.
1 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. C.M. PUNK — World Hvt. Title match
Before the match, a clip aired of Randy Orton leading an attack on Punk before the Scramble match eight days earlier to cost him his chance to defend his title that night. Punk’s ring intro took place first, then champ Jericho’s. A clip then aired of Jericho’s sneaky win in the Scramble match. The match began six minutes into the show with a forehead-to-forehead staredown. Jericho went for a quick escape. Punk chased Jericho to the top and threw some cool roundkicks to the ribs and knocked Jericho to the mat. He then tried to escape. Jericho quickly caught him. The crowd chanted “C.M. Punk” as Punk threw more punches, kicks, and knees mid-ring. Punk nailed Jericho in the corner with a running knee to the jaw followed by a bulldog. Cole said Punk could be closing in on his second championship reign. When he went for a Go To Sleep, Jericho held onto the top rope. Punk backdropped him into the side of the cage. At 3:00 they cut to a break.
They showed that during the break, Punk tried to climb out of the doorway, but Jericho dragged him back in. Jericho applied a Walls of Jericho mid-ring at 8:00. Punk crawled to the door and managed to pull himself to the flor. HIs hands touched and he broke one leg free, but Jericho held onto the other leg. Jericho then managed to bash Punk in the head with the cage door. Cole noted Punk’s recent concussion could come into play. Jericho scored a near fall. Nice sequence. Punk lifted a knee to counter a Lionsault. Punk got up and threw a couple hard roundkicks to Jericho’s chest as he kneeled on the mat. Jericho avoided a Punk charge in the corner, then dropkicked his head into the side of the cage.
At 11:00 Punk caught up with Jericho on the top rope trying to escape. He set up a Go To Sleep. Jericho countered with elbows. They both crashed to the mat. Punk crawled over for a cover and a near fall that the crowd popped for. A minute later Jericho climbed to the top to escape. Punk caught up and gave him an Electric Chair to the mat. Another “C.M. Punk” chant broke out. Punk crawled to the open doorway. Jericho literally crawled over Punk and scurried to the doorway. Punk held his leg. Punk then crawled through the doorway. Jericho scratched and clawed to drag Punk back into the ring at 14:00. They exchanged punches. They knocked heads and Jericho literally fell out of the doorway to the floor to win.
WINNER: Jericho in 15:00 to retain the World Hvt. Title.
STAR RATING: ***1/2 — Very good match. Five or ten minutes away from four-stars plus. It felt like a main event worthy performance from both. The finish further cements Jericho as the new “luckiest champion in the world.”
-As Jericho held his title belt in the air and returned to the back, they showed Batista standing backstage and watching the match on a monitor. He shook his head in disgust.
-Cole plugged Kane vs. Rey Mysterio as coming up later in the show.
-Shawn Michaels narrated footage of the hurricane damage in Texas. He encouraged viewers to donate to the Red Cross.
-Raw G.M. Raw Adamle was chatting Kelly Kelly backstage. Dolph Ziggler (former Nicky of Spirit Squad, Nick Nemeth) walked up, said hi to Kelly, and introduced himself to Adamle. Adamle said he knows who he is since he signed him. He’s not got slicked back bleached blond hair, a super-deep tan, and a wide smile. He’s a cross between the AWA “Mr. Magnificent” Kelly Kelly and Chic Donovan. Jericho walked up to Adamle and listed all he’s been through since the Scramble match. He said he keeps winning, but if Adamle wants to make it as G.M., he has to learn how to protect his champion. He reiterated that he’s a man, not a machine. He asked to have some time now to explain some things to Adamle in the privacy of his office.
-They showed an ultra-close-up of the back of Kane’s head. He turned slowly and said years ago he was put in a position where he was forced to remove his mask. He said the truth is no one forces him to do anything. He said he took his mask off ultimately to be accepted by the fans, but that didn’t happen. He asked, “I had the guts to unmask, but where did it get me?” He said people point and stare. He said he doesn’t like to be ridiculed. He said if fans are repulsed by him, the feeling is more than mutual. He said Rey Mysterio doesn’t have the courage to do what he does. He said Rey still wears his mask and the fans still love him. “Why? Because all of you wear masks as well. All of you hide behind masks of self-righteousness and happiness.” He said deep down inside everyone is unhappy and only care about themselves. Kane’s theme music played in the background as he cut his promo. He turned and saw Evan Bourne standing next to him. Bourne said Rey is courageous. He said Rey paved the way for him to make it in WWE and he can’t wait to watch him beat him tonight. Kane let out his maniacal laugh then sneered menacingly.
-Jillian Hall walked out singing Elvis’s “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog.” They showed fans booing and kids plugging their ears. Cole plugged that Candice Michelle vs. Jillian was up next.
2 — CANDICE MICHELLE vs. JILLIAN HALL
During Candice’s ring intro, Beth Phoenix walked up behind her and passed her without incident on her way to sit with Cole and Lawler at ringside. Jillian kept talking throughout the match, trying to be as obnoxious as possible. When Jillian went for a handspring elbow in the corner, Candice grabbed her and finished her with the Candy Wrapper finisher. Phoenix seemed nonplussed at ringside. Candice dropkicked Phoenix off the ring apron as soon as Phoenix made a move toward her. Then her dance club theme song music played again. As Phoenix walked away, she said No Mercy will be nothing like tonight.
WINNER Candice in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4*
-Lawler plugged Kane vs. Mysterio.
-WWE Fact: WWE Magazine sells more copies at newsstands than Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine combined. I didn’t know that.
-They showed a cool aerial shot of Memphis at night.
3 — JBL vs. TOMMY DREAMER
During JBL’s ring intro, Cole said JBL seems to be in one of the worst moods he’s ever seen him in. Lawler said, “Don’t worry about JBL. He has so much money, if he stuffed it in his mattress and fell out of bed, it’d take him 15 minutes to fall to the floor.” When Dreamer walked out, Cole said he’s part of the working agreement between Raw and ECW. Lawler said Dreamer shouldn’t answer the phone when Raw calls. He predicted he’d be slaughtered. Cole said Dreamer was the heart and soul of ECW for so many years. After a boot to the face by JBL, Dreamer made a comeback. Lawler, who just predicted Dreamer would be slaughter, said, “Never sell this guy short.” JBL came back seconds later with a nasty Clothesline from Hell for the win.
WINNER: JBL in 2:00.
-Afterward, JBL brought a chair into the ring. He sat in the chair and said he will not leave the ring until Adamle makes him the no. 1 contender tonight. The crowd chanted “You suck! You suck!” Lawler wondered how long they’d have to wait. They cut to a break.
-An ad for ECW encouraged fans to join him on his quest to become the greatest champion ever.
-JBL remained mid-ring on the chair. He told Adamle not to make a decision based on how the people react or what they chant. He said the fans don’t understand him. He bragged about owning several homes, while saying the fans struggle to pay one mortgage. Randy Orton’s music played and he walked out onto the stage. He strolled to the ring in a t-shirt. Orton looks really thin. Orton said a few weeks ago he gave his evaluation of all of the champions on Raw. He said he wasn’t impressed, so he took it upon himself to be sure Punk didn’t keep his championship. He looked at JBL and said he’s not much of an improvement. He said the Age of Orton was cut short due to an injury, and as he continues to rehab his shoulder, it’s only a matter of time before he’s healthy. He said it won’t matter who is champion on Raw because he will again become World Champion. He said finally there will be a champion on Raw who actually has some credibility. Santino Marella’s music interrupted.
Santino and Phoenix walked out. Orton stopped mid-sentence. Phoenix and Santino were clearly upset with Orton’s comments. Santino asked Orton who he thinks he is. He said, “Unlike you Randy Orton, we are champions. Unlike you, we are champions. You are always injury, just like your dad.” He asked how long Bob Orton Jr. had that cast on his arm. He said his father was always healthy. “Sure, he did have the herpes, but he managed it very well,” he said. Funny.
Santino said he and Phoenix represent a new age of champions. He insisted Orton apologize to him. Orton asked if he actually expects him to respond to that. Orton said he doesn’t care if he’s hurt, he’ll take him out. JBL looked at Orton and said, “Apologize. Not to Mr. and Mrs. Phoenix. Apologize to me,” he said. He claimed that Orton has become irrelevant since he got injured. JBL told Orton to “take the bass out of his eyeballs” because he’d hate to see his shoulder get injured again. Batista’s music then played.
Batista walked to the ring. He entered the ring, looked at the other four, and laughed. “Now before I beat the hell out of all four of you, this is the most pathetic sight I’ve ever seen,” he said. He accused them of making promises they can’t keep, just like politicians. “Like Barack Obama said…” The crowd booed. Batista looked at Phoenix. “You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of a day, it’s still a pig.” Santino said, “Just because she squeals now and then doesn’t mean she’s a pig.” He offered to face JBL later and then, after beating him, he goes on to face Jericho for the World Title at No Mercy. Then he’ll keep beating people up until Orton returns, and then he’ll beat him too. Santino said, “Hey, aren’t your forgetting about someone.” Batista said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean any respect.” He turned to Phoenix and offered to beat her ass when he’s champion. Batista told JBL he hasn’t forgotten about the cheap shot he gave him last week. He said he’s tired of talking and he’s ready to fight. That’s the most Batista has talked in a while, and he did a good job holding court.
Adamle appeared on the big screen. He said he’d make an announcement regarding No Mercy after the Kane-Rey match. He said they’ve all made good points, but there’s no reason for them to be impatient. Batista said he’d like to make his case now. He went after JBL. When Santino stepped up to Batistas, Batista gave him a spinebuster. Phoenix then stepped up to Batista as JBL retreated to the back. She slapped Batista. She told him to look at him when she talks to him. She slapped him again. Batista was just going to walk away, but she said she wasn’t done with him. He finally lost it and gave her a spinebuster onto the face of Santino. Fun a segment. A bit of a hodgepodge of various people, but Santino kept it entertaining, Orton and JBL were good on the mic, and Batista showed real leadership in how he held court once he arrived. Different in format than the typical in-ring interview feature segment, but I think it worked.
-Orton was shown walking backstage. He crossed paths with Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, and Manu. DiBiase gave Orton a dirty look. The young heels walked away.
-A commercial aired for the Mr. Perfect DVD.
4 — TED DIBIASE & CODY RHODES & MANU vs. KOFI KINGSTON & JERRY LAWLER & “GOOD OL’ J.H.”
Charlie Haas came out dressed in an Oklahoma Sooners jersey and a cowboy hat. He had his jersey stuffed to show off a huge gut. He held up BBQ sauce. Cole did his forced laugh. Haas kept his jersey stuffed during the match. Manu took Kofi down with a headbutt early. Kofi hit a high dropkick. Cody tagged in. Kofi took control quickly, then tagged in Lawler, who got a hometown crowd pop. A chant of “Jerry, Jerry” broke out. He dropkicked Cody to the mat. Cody begged off, but then threw Lawler face-first into the middle turnbuckle. He followed with a bulldog and settled into a chinlock. J.H. joined Cole on commentary. He said he’s about to beat somebody like a government mule. He then jumped back to the ring apron. J.H. tagged in and ducked DiBiase, then punched him a few times and clotheslined him to the mat. He followed with a high dropkick and a Thesz press. He followed with a big splash for a near fall, broken up by Cody. Lawler helped lear the ring of Cody and Manu. DiBiase avoided an Oklahoma Stampede, which Cole referenced as being “Dr. Death” Steve Williams’s favorite move, and then finished J.H. with a Russian leg sweep for the win.
WINNERS: Rhodes & DiBiase & Manu in 3:00.
-Afterward, the heels reunited in the ring as their music played.
-The Smackdown Rebound aired.
-Backstage, Chris Jericho was changing and tending to his face and arm with a towel. JBL walked up to him and said he knows they aren’t friends, but last week they made a very impressive tag team. Jericho interrupted him and asked if he remembers how he blatantly cost him the WWE Championship last year against Orton, much like his friends on Wall Street his chances of scoring a title shot are crashing. He said Adamle respects his opinion more than his. He said he is champion. He said if this is Wall Street, he’s not investing in any future JBL title matches. JBL listened, then said, “We’ll see.” More ambiguity regarding the role of various heels, with Orton, JBL, and Jericho in particular all having spats with one another.
5 — PAUL BURCHILL (w/Katie Lea) vs. JAMIE NOBLE
Lawler said about Noble: “You know his house doesn’t have curtains, but his truck does.” Hadn’t heard that before. Boy, they continue to treat Q7 as a segment viewers will watch no matter what they throw out there because the main event is so close to starting or they’re already fully invested and committed to the show. In a surprise, Noble out of nowhere applied the MMA-style armbar to get a quick tapout win. It’s basically the move A.J. Styles used against Frank Trigg at the end of the first round in their MMA-style PPV match.
WINNER: Noble in 1:00.
-Afterward, Laya walked out and said she is sorry for taking so long to declare she has no interest in him. She mocked where he’d likely take her on a date, then said she’s found a man worthy of her. Out walked William Regal. He caressed Layla’s chin, then told Noble that she wanted nobility, not Noble. This whole thing felt a little bit rushed or irrelevant, even, because neither Regal nor Noble have been treated as anything but lower card wrestlers. However, Noble’s surprising win here was well-timed as it did add some credibility to his push.
-Adamle was talking to Lance Cade backstage when Batista barged in. He demanded to know if Adamle is going to make him the no. 1 contender. Cade said, “What makes you think you’re the no. 1 contender?” Batista threw him against the wall and said he didn’t ask his opinion. Batista walked out before Adamle could respond to his question.
-Cole plugged Rey vs. Kane.
6 — KANE vs. REY MYSTERIO
Lawler told Cole: “Watch out. Kane has multiple personalities, and none of them like you.” Lawler is on a roll tonight. Lawler observed that Kane seemed to have a “sick smile” during Rey’s ring intro. Seconds into the match, Kane threw Rey into the corner and punched him. Rey out-maneuvered Kane and went for a huracanrana. Kane held on, so Rey punched him to the mat and stomped on him. Kane came right back with an uppercut. Kane threw Rey out of the ring. He somersaulted onto the mat and stood right back up. He goaded Kane to chase him at ringside. Rey then ran back into the ring and slidekicked Kane at ringside. As Kane regrouped, they cut to a break.
After the break, Kane had Rey in a chinlock. What are the odds of that? They showed that during the break Kane took Rey down with a boot to the face. Rey began his comeback promptly. Kane, though, bodyslammed him with one arm, but missed with an elbowdrop. Rey kicked him in the head and mounted him in the corner. Kane threw Rey into the ringpost, dropping to the mat as he threw him. Kane powered Rey into the post by dropping down as he threw him. Annoyingly several people in the front row were on their cell phones waving at the hard camera. Kane continued to dominate until Rey kicked out of Rey’s grip at 7:00. The crowd loudly chanted “619, 619.” Rey went on sustained offense with a speedy sequence of kicks. He head scissored Kane into the middle turnbuckle and then climbed to the top rope. Kane caught Rey, but Rey enzuigiri’d out of his grip. When he charged at Kane, Kane practically beheaded him with a clothesline to silence the crowd. Kane stomped away at Rey in the corner relentlessly. The ref counted to five and Kane didn’t break, so the ref called for the DQ. Lawler said he agreed with the call.
WINNER: Mysterio in 9:00.
STAR RATING: **1/4
-As Kane attempted to rip off Rey’s mask, Evan Bourne made the save. He hit Kane with a top rope double knee. Rey followed with a Drop the Dime. Rey and Evan retreated to ringside as Kane snorted and recovered in the ring from the surprise attack. He then began to nod and maniacally laugh.
-They showed Jericho and Cade walking backstage. Dolph Ziggler approached then and introduced himself. They shook his hand, but looked slightly annoyed.
-A commercial aired hyping the launch of WWE Smackdown on MyNetwork. First, WrestleMania airs on Thursday, Oct. 2. Then Friday night’s Smackdown features Triple H vs. Chris Jericho vs. Matt Hardy in a Triple Threat match with all three champions in he ring at once. That’s quite a giveaway. Are they that worried about people not finding the show on MyNetwork? It cheapens the champion vs. champion concept to toss it out there on free TV, but with a couple weeks to hype it, it could feel like a big deal. Still, is it worth going that far for a network switch?
-An ECW commercial advertised Finlay vs. Mark Henry.
-WWE Fact: WWE Superstars have visited more than 200 military sites over the last five years?
-Chris Jericho came out to his full intro again. He had changed into a suit and was accompanied by Cade. Jericho entered the ring and thanked Adamle for respecting his opinion and taking his advice. He said a lot of thought should go into such a big decision. He said should Batista or JBL get the shot? The crowd cheered Batista. Jericho said neither are worthy, in his opinion. So he suggested JBL and Batista should face each other one-on-one, and then immediately afterward he’ll face the winner for his title. He said if fans think that’s not fair, he had two matches at Unforgiven and beat four men in the main event to become champion. He said he’s the best in the world and a league of his own. He said he deserved it. He said Adamle should make his decision official.
Adamle said Batista and JBL will face off and the winner will be the new no. 1 contender. He said he has a problem because he has quarterly meetings with Stephanie and Shane. He kinda misspoke several times and seemed to almost panic. Adamle said he doesn’t want to get into a habit of having challengers wrestle twice in one night. Jericho stepped in and tried to make sense of what Adamle said. Adamle said he solicited not just Jericho’s opinion, but others. He said he was approached by someone else who presented an idea for a title match so exciting, he couldn’t pass it up. He said, “Chris, let me introduce your opponent at No Mercy for the World Heavyweight Championship.” Adamle left the stage and then there was nearly a minute of total silence and suspense. The crowd began a chant of “HBK, HBK.” Finally, Shawn Michaels’s music played. He walked out with a mic in hand.
Michaels said he came up with an idea of how he can beat him for the title and also permanently disfigure him. He said he came up with a match that “some people say I put on the map.” He said it’s a match “some people say I revolutionized.” He said the title will be at stake in a special match. He then had two workers bring out a ladder and set it up. Michaels climbed the ladder, sat at the top, and said, “Ladder match!” Jericho clutched his title belt and looked on worried and upset, almost seeming to feel betrayed by Adamle for presenting him with the worst case scenario. The show ended with Michaels staring at him from the top of the ladder as his music played.
[Final Word: Best wishes to usual Raw Report cohort James Caldwell, who is based out of Houston, Tex. and is without power and water this week and recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Ike last week. He and his family are all fine, but everyone is in trying to comprehend the massive and widespread damage to the town and work to get things back to normal.]