The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 22, 2008
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-The show opened with an image of the World Hvt. Title belt hanging over a tall ladder set up mid-ring. Michael Cole introduced it as the 800th episode of Raw. Chris Jericho, wearing a suit, made his full ring intro. He sat atop the ladder. He milked the crowd cheers and boos and chants for more than a minute. Jericho finally spoke: “Leave it to HBK to rewrite history.” He said he’s loose with hypocritical, lying, and boastful statements. He said he lied about innovating the ladder match. He said the sycophant sheep that the fans are, they all believed what he said. He said just because Shawn Michaels says something doesn’t mean it’s true. He added, “I am a good man. I always tell the truth.” He said he has won three separate championships in ladder matches and won more high profile matches than Michaels has appeared in during his entire life. He then reached up and pulled his belt off of the hanging loop and said that’s the last image fans will see at No Mercy. He said now Michaels has trapped himself in a corner because in his quest to feed his ego and continue to inflate his overhyped legacy, he has requested a ladder match. He said all that has done is give him a weapon of destruction. Randy Orton’s music interrupted and he walked onto the stage and toward the ring. Orton looks like he gained about 10 pounds of upper body muscle in the last week. Maybe it’s just the shirt changes how defined and thick he looks.
Orton crawled through the ropes and stared at Jericho with a tilted head like David Caruso approaching a suspect who he’s trying to intimidate. Jericho said he knew it was only a matter of time before he came out to address the champion. Orton said if it wasn’t for him kicking C.M. Punk in the skull, he wouldn’t be champion. He said as far as his ladder match, it doesn’t matter who wins because whoever is champ after No Mercy will be running on borrowed time. Jericho said Orton’s problem is that he talks a lot of trash that he can’t back up, like the hypocrites in the crowd. “You have a lot of big ideas, goals you’ll never accomplish. You’re a dreamer and you got a big mouth, Orton.” He asked what is stopping him from punching him in the mouth right now. He said when he gave Michaels’s wife Rebecca a fat lip, it was an accident, but if he hits Orton, it’ll be on purpose.
Orton said he talked to Mike Adamle earlier and told him that he needs to be protected. He said he can’t hit everybody, but also no one can hit him or they will be suspended immediately. “In other words, I am untouchable,” he said, noting that he’s a third-generation superstar and the most valuable commodity on Raw and thus he tends to get what he wants. Jericho said from where he’s standing, the most valuable commodity is the World Champion. He said he tends to get what he wants, also, and right now he wants to get away from him because he’s sick of wasting his time. He wished him luck in getting well soon. As Jericho left the ring, Orton told him to walk away, but told him he will be champion once again and will still be champion long after his days as champion are done. He told him to take his ladder with him. He then lifted it and threw it like a spear out of the ring. His physical therapist’s heart probably just skipped a beat. Orton shrugged his shoulder a little after the throw.
C.M. Punk’s music played and he walked to the ring. Cole said Orton probably wasn’t expecting Punk to show up. Punk entered the ring and shoved his face into Orton’s. Jerry Lawler stressed that Punk can’t hit Orton or he’d be suspended. Punk shook with rage and anger in trying to intimidate Orton. It almost got cartoonish. Punk then couldn’t hold back. He slapped Orton, then punched him and ordered him to stand up. Mike Adamle ran out and yelled, “Stop it! Stop it! Knock it off!” He strode into the ring and pushed Punk back and told him to calm down. Adamle said Punk just directly defied one of his edicts and he can’t let it go. He said Punk is now suspended – indefinitely and immediately. Punk broke from his trance and shook his head. Adamle said they’d discuss the situation further in his office. Then Shane McMahon’s music played. Cole said Shane and his sister Stephanie have been running the company during the absence of their father.
Shane danced onto the stage, then danced to the ring. Adamle was surprised Shane was there. Shane said he understands Adamle was thrown into the mix as G.M. and is learning on the job. Shane said what Punk just did to Orton “is what we call in this business a receipt.” He said normally he’d respect his edict, but in this case, not tonight. He said he is officially overruling his suspension of Punk. Punk broke into a big smile and celebration. Orton got up and paced in anger. “What do you think yo are doing!” Orton demanded to know of Shane. Shane told Orton to calm down. Orton said he can’t overrule the G.M. Shane said he sure can. He said he respects all Orton has done, but he must respect his position. He said Adamle’s edict begins now, then asked Orton to leave the ring. Orton did. Punk smiled. Shane said since Punk’s adrenaline is already pumping, he said they’d start the night with a match with him against Cody Rhodes. Punk nodded and eagerly accepted the challenge. Shane then said he sensed coming out of Mike Adamle a main event featuring Chris Jericho & JBL vs. Batista & Shawn Michaels. The crowd popped for both Batista and Michaels. Shane’s music played and he did his silly dance. Adamle still seemed upset that Shane overruled him. Cole thought it was just hilarious that Shane read Adamle’s mind like that.
Well, with ratings way down, it was a pretty safe bet a McMahon would return to try to save the ratings. That was a long opening segment – almost 20 minutes. It may have been too long, but everyone involved played their part well. Punk was probably the weakest in that he may have overacted a bit, but he overall holds his own in there with people with much more experience. Adamle was fun with his bitter yet restrained reaction to Shane overruling him.
-Raw on USA Fact: Raw, 800 episodes strong, is the longest running entertainment program in history and has had more episodes than ER, Cheers, and Seinfeld combined. Cole read this fact aloud, also. Impressive numbers. They classify themselves as entertainment to exclude news shows such as “20/20” and “60 Minutes” and “Meet the Press” which run year-round and have been around much longer than Raw and to exclude sports series such as “Monday Night Football” which also has been around longer than Raw. They need to be sure to say “prime time” or “weekly” entertainment program, though, since otherwise they’re losing by big numbers to the “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” afternoon soap operas.
1 — C.M. PUNK vs. CODY RHODES
Cody threw Punk to the floor early. He showed some good cocky facial expressions. Punk then kicked Cody at ringside to try to take control, but Cody came right back throwing Punk head-first into the ringpost. Back in the ring, when Punk almost executed his Go To Sleep out of nowhere, Cody slipped out and rolled out of the ring for a breather. They cut to a break at 6:00.
Cody had control after the break. Punk made a comeback at 11:00 and hit the Go To Sleep for the win.
WINNER: Punk in 12:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Solid match.
-Afterward, Manu and Ted DiBiase jumped Punk. Kofi Kingston made the save. If someone didn’t watch Raw for a year and suddenly tuned in, they wouldn’t recognize anyone in this scene.
-Cole hyped the tag team main event.
-They showed scenes of downtown Cincinnati, their football stadium, and then the U.S. Bank arena next to it. Then they showed some Bengals players in the front row. Those NFL players sure are dedicated fans, always waiting in line on ticket launch day to get the best seats.
-The Smackdown Rebound aired.
-Backstage, Shane chatted with Adamle, who complained about him embarrassing him and overruling his decision. Shane said no reason to be embarrassed. He said he’s doing a great job, but he is still learning on the job. Shane said his dad taught him that sometimes you have to step on people’s toes to get things done. Kane walked into the room and said he appreciates him serving Evan Bourne to him tonight, but he still wants Rey Mysterio. Adamle said he has signed Kane vs. Rey for No Mercy. Kane said, “By the way, Shane-O, say hi to your mom for me. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.” Adamle asked Shane if Kane knows his mom. Shane said there’s a little history there. He recapped how he piledrove her onto a steel grate and then tortured her a little more by electrocuting his testicles with a car battery. Adamle was taken aback.
-The always smiling Kelly Kelly chatted with a photographer who seemed to enjoy her company. Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix walked up to Kelly. Santino was wearing a face guard. Phoenix accused Kelly of laughing at them. Santino called her “Kelly Kelly Kelly.” Hilarious, mostly due to his delivery. He then mocked Batista’s ring entrance routine and called him a big baby. Batista walked up behind Santino, who shrieked like a little girl. Phoenix said if Batista messes with their match, her boyfriend will mess up his face. She shoved Santino into Batista’s chest. Santino’s music played. He backed off and said Batista is lucky that his music is playing. He ran to the entrance tunnel.
-Santino stood mid-ring and updated the Honk-a-Meter: 64 weeks for Honkytonk Man and 5 for him. Before he could explain how this is some sort of achievment, Deuce walked out.
2 — SANTINO MARELLA (w/Beth Phoenix) vs. DEUCE
Santino told Deuce before the match that if Batista messes with him, he’ll beat him up just like he’s about to beat up Fonzie. He then said, “Happy days are over.” They wisely didn’t book this to last long. Santino won quickly with a sunset flip.
WINNER: Santino in 1:00.
-Afterward, Santino afterward talked about Phoenix ordering him to order contraceptives. Pheonix walked out and tried to kiss Santino, but when she touched his face, he recoiled in pain.
-Rey gave Evan Bourne some words of advice backstage.
3 — KANE vs. EVAN BOURNE
Cole called Bourne gusty for standing up for Rey last week. Bourne leapfrogged Kane at the start, then roundkicked him in the shoulder. Kane smiled and shook it off. Bourne dove under Kane and then nailed him with an enzuigiri. Kane said, “Play time is over.” Kane then lifted Bourne, but Bourne slipped out and kicked Kane several times.
Kane came back and stomped Bourne into the mat. He went for an elbow, but Bourne moved. Bourne went for a crucifix, but Kane stood his ground and then punched Bourne in the face. Not much crowd heat for Bourne as he showed a ton of grit and speed early. He went for a DDT off the second rope, but Kane blocked it. He went for a big boot, but Bourne moved and knocked Kane over the top rope. He followed with a shooting star press that just grazed Kane. Back in the ring, Bourne hit his top rope double knee dive for a two count at 3:00. Kane caught Bourne mid-air with a right punch. Kane gave Bourne three backbreakers over his knee, then lifted him and slammed him upside down into the corner, then finished him with a running powerslam. Kane chokeslammed Bourne for the win.
WINNER: Kane in 5:00.
STAR RATING: * — I was worried they’d squash Bourne here, but they gave him more than enough to not lose much in this loss. It’s not as if WWE was going to push hi as Kane’s equal anytime soon, so giving him as much offense as they did was a showcase for what he can do and his potential.
-Afterward, as Kane went after Bourne again. Rey Mysterio ran out for the save. He soon found himself chokeslammed by Kane mid-ring. He leaned over and called Rey a coward.
-Cole plugged the main event tag match again.
-Backstage, Jamie Noble was lobbying Shane for another crack at William Regal. Dolph Ziggler walked in and introduced himself to Shane and Jamie. Shane smiled and said Ziggler looked good. Orton walked in and said he respects Shane, but what he did out there earlier wasn’t cool. Shane told Orton things are “totally chill.” He said Orton is getting off easy after what he did to Punk. Orton said, “Shane, you and I are the youngest, most influential, most powerful third generation superstars in this industry. It would be a real shame if somehow, some way we got on each other’s bad sides.” Shane agreed that it would be a real shame. “By the way, for your edification, I’m fourth generation. Catch up to you later.”
-An ECW commercial aired hyping Finlay in generic terms.
3 — “GLAMAZON” BETH PHOENIX vs. KELLY KELLY
Santino tripped Kelly coming off the ropes at 2:00. Phoenix charged at Santino, but Kelly ducked and then she schoolgirled Phoenix for the win.
WINNER: Kelly in 2:00.
-Afterward, Phoenix held Kelly for Santino, who stalked her in the ring. Batista’s music played before Santino could act on his intentions. Batista fended off Santino’s attack and then gave him a spear. Phoenix backed out of the ring and looked worried. She seems a bit oblivious in thinking her boyfriend is tougher than he really is.
-Cole and Lawler were shown on camera for the first time all show. They hyped the main event tag team match again. Then Cole talked about the battle on WWE.com between Cryme Tyme’s web show and The Dirt Sheet. Clips aired including Cryme Tyme comparing Miz & Morrison to Batman & Robin, saying they are having a “bro-mance” and told them to find a room. Miz & Morrison then spoofed Cyme Tyme’s obsession with money. Cryme Tyme fired back by calling Miz & Morrison “posers.” Morrison said Shad isn’t “street” because he met his dad and his dad wears sweater vests. Oh, snap.
4 — JOHN MORRISON & THE MIZ vs. CRYME TYME
The extent to which ECW wrestlers are appearing on Raw is just odd right now. Lawler said: “Shad told me he started out as an unwanted child, and now he’s wanted in ten states.” We got a lot of those one-liners last week from Lawler, and this is the first of the show this week. Cole pushed how the Cryme Tyme and Miz & Morrison shows are the most viewed on WWE.com and how seriously the two teams take them. Lawler said: “Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase followed in their fathers’ footsteps. Cryme Tyme are following in their fathers’ fingerprints.” When Shad cleared the ring of both heels and tossed J.T.G. onto them, they cut to a break. Cole said the “Bling Bling Brothers are on a roll” and asked if they could keep it up after the break.
[Commercial Break: Batista & Rey vs. Kane & Jericho was advertised for Raw in Minneapolis, Minn. next week at Target Center]
Morrison had Shad tied up on the mat after the break. Cole and Lawler talked more about this being the 800th episode. Shad made a big comeback 8:00. Shad and J.T.G. doubled on Miz, but Morrison yanked Miz out of the ring and then Morrison rolled up Shad for a surprise near fall. Miz distracted the ref as Morrison hit Shad with a kick. Miz then scored the pin. Lawler said ECW just got one up on Raw with that outcome.
WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 11:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2
-A commercial aired for the “Mr. Perfect” DVD (which Greg Parks reviewed in last week’s PDF-edition of the VIP-exclusive Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter).
-Jericho, with Lance Cade behind him, told Adamle that Shane is testing him this week. He said he’s making sure he’s not a yes-man and is willing to put his spin on things. Jericho said what Shane says and what he means are two different things and he wants to talk to him about that tonight.
-Cole and Lawler ran down the No Mercy line-up.
-They threw to a video of Charlie Haas at a local sportsbar paying tribute to a “local legend,” Mr. Perfect. He then put on a Mr. Perfect-like wig and said, “You might call this the perfect tribute.” He then began doing a terrible job playing pool, basketball, a boxing video game (where he KO’d a bystander), lost at air hockey to a little kid, danced poorly, and threw a football to himself but crashed into a server before catching it. He said, “I guess that proves there is only one Mr. Perfect.” He threw out his gum and it landed in a lady’s salad. She ate it unknowingly.
-A production worker told Lilian Garcia news for her ring intro. She then said it will be a two-on-three handicapped match.
5 — CHRIS JERICHO & LANCE CADE & JBL vs. BATISTA & SHAWN MICHAELS
Jericho’s manipulating of Adamle into making this three-on-two was clever and well-done. Giving away this match would normally be seen as too much, especially given the intensity of the Jericho-Michaels feud and how this could water down the novelty of those two being in the same match, but after last week’s rating for Raw, it’s understandable. What’s odd is the lack of any promo from Michaels or Batista to hype this match and communicate to fans what they believed was at stake for them in this one. Michaels opened against Cade. When Michaels moved toward Jericho, Jericho jumped to the floor. JBL then surprised Michaels with a clothesline. Jericho then charged after Michaels once he was down and took control.
JBL tagged in and continued to beat on Michaels. A minute later Cade tagged in against Michaels. JBL took a cheap shot at Batista. Batista tried to enter the ring, which gave Jericho a chance to give Michaels a cheap shot at 5:00. JBL went for a fallaway slam, but Michaels countered and took JBL down. Both men ended up on their backs on the mat. Batista wanted in for the first time all match. JBL tagged in Jericho first, but then Michaels hot-tagged Batista. Baitsta exploded with an attack on Jericho. Batista powerslammed Jericho, then tagged in Michaels who hit a top rope elbow. Michaels showed great fire as only he can. Then he signaled for Sweet Chin Music. Jericho ducked and went for a Walls of Jericho. Michaels escaped. Jericho went for a Code Breaker. Michaels blocked it and went for a pin. JBL broke it up. Batista made the save. JBL backdropped Batista over the top ropeBatista got up and speared JBL at ringside. Jericho gave Michaels a running bulldog from behind. He went for a Lionsault, but Michaels moved. Jericho tagged in Cade. Michaels immediately hit Cade with a flying forearm. Then he nipped up and set up a superkick toward Jericho. Jericho slipped out of the ring and Cade hit Michaels quickly and suddenly with a sitout powerbomb for the pin.
WINNER: Cade & Jericho & JBL in 9:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2 — Good tag match. They hit all the big spots well. The Cade pin on Michaels is a nice boost for him no matter what the circumstances.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Solid episode. Not earth-shattering, but the inclusion of Shane, the fun dynamic between Shane and Adamle, a noteworthy finish to the main event tag, a good dose of Santino, and a good opening segment all made for a watchable, inoffensive show. Credit WWE for not hotshotting too much after the ratings recently, but going ahead in trying to continue to push some younger stars without blinking (not that there’s any viable alternative approach).
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS 2008 FLASHBACK: 10 YRS AGO – KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT (9-15-08): Jericho vs. Punk for World Title opens show, JBL, Tommy Dreamer, Cody, Michaels, Kane, Rey, Lawler