November 1, 2009
Bragging Rights 2009, October 25, 2009, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Announcers: Michael Cole, Todd Grisham, & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Well, this would probably be the PPV I was least looking forward to in a long time. First we have this Bragging Rights series of matches between Raw and Smackdown, which is a good idea in theory, but come on. Guys switch back and forth all the time, and nearly everyone has been on each show at some point so it’s kind of hard to buy the idea that they have any sort of loyalty to one or the other. Hell, some of them in the Women’s match just switched a few weeks ago, and we’re expected to believe that they already “bleed” their new colours? Sigh. And then we have this Ironman Match. I expect it to be in the range of good overall, but still I fear that they’re going have a lot of trouble filling this time. Other then Cena’s Raw match with Shawn Michaels (and let’s face it, that was a Shawn Michaels performance all the way) I don’t believe either guy has ever been close to this long. Well, it could be a long night, so let’s get started.
Opening Match: The Miz vs. John Morrison
We start out here with the US Champion against the Intercontinental Champion although neither Title is on the line. What is on the line is the first point in the 2 out of 3 Raw vs. Smackdown series, which has a nice little trophy sitting at ringside to be awarded to the winning team. So does it suck to by Marty Jannetty, or what? They’ve spent the buildup here debating which one of them will be the Shawn Michaels of their team and which one will be the Marty Jannetty, thus making Jannetty’s name synonymous with “Loser”. They start out trading holds and reversals until Miz gets a rope break to a round of boos. More of the same leads to a Morrison shoulderblock off of which Miz bails. After regrouping, Miz gets him with his own shoulderblock, but comes off the ropes again and gets flapjacked. Morrison hits a standing Shooting Star Press for 2. Miz comes back and pounds him in the corner then tosses him. Morrison blocks a suplex back in and comes through with a rollup for 2. Morrison gets on top, but Miz bridges out and goes to a backslide, which is, ironically enough, a spot used in the past by none other than Marty Jannetty. No one picks up on that though. Morrison escapes the backslide anyways. Miz misses a knee and Morrison clotheslines him to the floor, then dropkicks him through the ropes. Back in, that gets 2. He then goes for a headscissors, but gets dropped over the top to the floor by Miz. Miz gets him back in and goes to work with a back suplex for 2. Morrison kicks him off, but his corner whip is reversed and he then takes a clothesline in the corner. Miz sets him on the apron and knees him from the floor. That gets a 2 count and then Morrison responds with a couple of rollups for 2. They trade kicks and then Morrison takes advantage with a forearm and clothesline. Dropkick gets 2, but then he misses a kick and Miz gets a rollup for 2. Morrison is back on him though, hitting a springboard kick for 2. He sets up Starship Pain, but Miz rolls to the floor, so he just hits a corkscrew plancha instead. That gets another 2, so he goes for a superplex. Miz shoves him off and drops a double ax. He goes for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Morrison counters to a Russian legsweep. He goes for Starship Pain again, but this time Miz nails him coming down, and that’s enough to get the 3 count at 10:55. Raw goes up 1-0. Not a bad match, but I was actually expecting this to be better. **1/2
Next we have a backstage confrontation between Cody Rhodes and R-Truth. Big Show then comes in and bullies Truth away. With the way Smackdown got buried here it was a pretty good sign they were winning in the end.
Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Melina, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim
So it’s the Smackdown Divas against the Raw Divas in match two of the Bragging Rights series. Of course Smackdown has to win, otherwise our big 14 man tag becomes meaningless, but then again, who really cares about this match anyways? Beth and Gail start with Gail getting caught on a press attempt, but still getting a cradle for 2. Beth hits a clothesline but McCool steals the tag and puts the boots to Gail. Gail comes back with a rana and that has McCool backing off. Tag to Natalya who trips Gail up for 1. Gail tags Kelly who puts a boot to Natalya’s throat. She then takes her down with a headscissors. Natalya recovers and drops Kelly on the ropes for 2. Kelly gets caught in the Smackdown corner, but manages to fight her way out. She tries a rollup on Natalya, but McCool gets the tag first. After a few knees, she tags in Beth who gets a snapmare for 2. Kelly fires back, but can’t make a tag. Beth does make a tag though, to McCool, and she continues working Kelly over. Beth steals the tag back, but falls victim to a rana for 2 and then a jawjacker. Kelly then makes the tag to Melina who takes Beth out with a drop toehold and faceplant. McCool provides a distraction which allows Beth to take over again, and then in the coolest spot of the match, Beth goes for a slingshot suplex, which Melina slickly counters to a small package, but the ref is distracted making sure Gail is in the corner. McCool rolls them over before the ref finally gets back and counts 2 for Beth. Beth goes for a side slam now, but that gets countered to a faceplant by Melina for 2. Every one goes at it now, but the ring is soon cleared leaving Melina and Beth again. Beth hits her with an ugly Snake Eyes and then uses the Glam Slam to finish her off at 6:55. One of the many little details they fail to pay attention to concerns Melina losing the fall here. Why? They just moved Beth over to Smackdown so they can’t really be building to a Title match between them. What possible reason could they have other then intentionally wanting to make the Champion look weak? It’s not like Kelly and Gail have unbeatable reputations that need to be protected or anything. Either on of them could have been pinned here and it would have the same effect without unnecessarily making the Champion look bad. That’s a -1/2* penalty in my book. This was actually a perfectly fine match by Divas standards while it lasted but taking the penalty into effect it gets *1/2.
Back in the locker room, and now knowing that their match will decide it, Shawn Michaels and HHH give Team Raw a motivational pep talk. Of course they end up making fun of everyone along the way, but the team still shows solidarity.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: The Undertaker vs. Dave Batista vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
Punk cheapshot Mysterio and then runs away from Batista, but Taker takes him out. Punk goes for Taker now and has some success before getting caught and tossed. Rey leaps at him off the apron while in the ring Taker hits a flying clothesline on Batista. Mysterio dropkicks Taker to the floor, but Taker is right back in and hits a big boot. Old School on Batista hits but when he goes for it on Mysterio, Punk crotches him. Punk goes for a superplex, getting knocked back on the first try, but trying again and hitting it the second time. Mysterio follows with a springboard splash only to have his pin broken up at 2 by Punk. Batista works Punk over with a couple of clotheslines and a powerslam, but Taker nails a boot on him. Mysterio comes off the top, but gets caught and set for the Last Ride. Batista makes the save with a spear, and then he and Mysterio stare at each other as though they both want to follow up but won’t because of the other. Taker just grabs Mysterio by the throat to end that debate, but Batista nails him and sets him up for the 619, which Mysterio hits. This knocks Taker back into a Batista spinebuster which gets 2 as Punk saves. Mysterio takes the GTS for 2 with Batista saving, followed by Taker hooking Hell’s Gates on Batista, but Punk breaks that. Punk follows with a running knee on Taker, but then gets caught and hit with the Last Ride. Taker covers, but Batista saves at 2. It breaks down to a slugfest between Taker and Batista with the crowd solidly behind Taker, who eventually takes advantage and hits a chokeslam. That gets 2 as yet another save is made by Punk. It’s interesting to note that Mysterio has not yet been there for Batista. Punk gets tossed by Taker but that allows Batista to take advantage and hit Taker with the Batista Bomb. He covers, but Mysterio not only breaks the pin, but tries for a cover himself before Batista gets him off. Batista gives him a piece of his mind for that, and ends up shoving him down. He turns around into a chokeslam for 2 and then they end up clotheslining each other. Punk sneaks in and tries covers on both guys, but only gets 2. Batista dumps him and then catches Mysterio who came at him off the top and dumps him as well. He then turns around again, and this time is caught with a Tombstone and that gets the 3 count for Undertaker to retain at 9:58. There was some good action here, as well as some good storytelling, but it wasn’t really spectacular or anything. ***
Following the match, Josh Matthews hits the ring for a post match interview with Mysterio and Batista. First he talks to Mysterio who says they were close, but he’s cool with the effort they gave and that there will be another day. Batista, meanwhile, is tired of being close, and tired Mysterio. He tells Mysterio flat out that he’s going to take him out, and then proceeds to do just that. Not a bad idea here as Batista’s babyface run has pretty much outlasted its usefulness so we’ll see how he does as a heel again.
Team Raw: Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, & Kofi Kingston vs. Team Smackdown: Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Fit Finlay, R-Truth, David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd
So we’re 1-1 and this match will decide it. Everyone is wearing shirts representing their show except for DX who wear their own shirts. The Smackdown team other then Jericho and Kane was completely replaced just last Friday and I think they got a better overall team for it, but they’re still perceived as the lesser stars here. Rhodes and Truth start things off stemming from the confrontation earlier, and they break right into a slugfest. Truth nails a dropkick, but runs into an elbow. They keep trading shots until Rhodes hangs onto the ropes on an Irish whip and Big Show takes the tag. Truth thinks better of that matchup and tags Kane leading to an epic staredown. Kane then gets some shots in followed by a corner clothesline. Show comes out with a shoulderblock and drops a leg for 2. Tag to Swagger, who takes a clothesline and then Kane tags Matt Hardy. Hardy controls until his corner whip is reversed, but he gets the boot up on the charge. 2nd rope legdrop for 2 follows and Swagger escapes to the floor. Hardy follows, but gets distracted by Rhodes and sent to the post. This leads to a standoff between the two teams, but the ref maintains order. In the ring, Swagger goes to work on Hardy’s arm. Tag to Mark Henry, who keeps up the work and prevents Hardy from tagging. He then tags Shawn Michaels, who sends Hardy shoulder first to the buckle, but puts his head down on a whip and gets kicked. Side Effect follows and that gives him the time he needs to tag Finlay. Finlay pounds Shawn down for a bit, but a collision in the corner puts both of them down. They make it to their feet and Shawn connects with Sweet Chin Music, but Finlay falls into a tag to David Hart Smith. The Harts immediately take Shawn out with a springboard Hart Attack for 2. Smith slams Shawn and tags Jericho who puts the boots to him. Shawn fires out of a rear chinlock and gets a rollup for 2, but Jericho is right back with a clothesline for 2. Tag Kane who hits a seated dropkick and tags back to Smith. Shawn fires out of another rear chinlock, but takes a back suplex for 2. Smith tags Kidd who misses a springboard elbow and that lets Shawn make the tag to HHH. High knee for Kidd, facebuster for Smith, spinebuster onto Smith for Finlay, and then another spinebuster for Kidd to add him to the pile as well. Kane comes in though and hits a chokeslam, letting Kidd cover for 2. During the match, the announcers have been cheering on their respective teams, which is fine and all, but I get the feeling that for some reason Michael Cole doesn’t like the Hart Dynasty. He seems to be going out of his was to put them down going beyond just brand loyalty. Tag to Jericho, who bulldogs HHH, but misses a Lionsault and HHH tags Kofi. He springs in with a clothesline on Jericho, followed by a dropkick and tomahawk chop. He goes for the Boom Drop, but Jericho block and goes for the Walls, which Kofi in turn counters to an inside cradle for 2. Jericho hits a clothesline and comes off the ropes, but runs right into Trouble in Paradise. The Harts make the save, but Mark Henry clears them out. Truth and Hardy then take Henry out, including hitting a double dive out to the floor. Finlay lays out Rhodes with the Finlay Roll, but immediately takes the gutwrench powerbomb from Swagger. Kane boots Swagger out of the ring, but then takes a spear from Show. Kofi, who is still the legal man, looks to come off the top, but now Show turns on him with a chokeslam. HHH questions Show, but falls victim to the Big Right Hand for his troubles. Meanwhile, Jericho, who’s also still the legal man, gets over and covers Kofi for the 3 count at 15:35. Smackdown wins Bragging Rights and the trophy. To their credit, the team celebrates like those things actually mean something but I don’t find myself caring about this series at all. The match itself though was actually quite good. ***1/2
After a video package for the main event we see Kofi Kingston walking backstage where Cody Rhodes confronts him about losing the match for Raw. Kofi tells him to get lost, but Rhodes leaves him laying instead.
Main Event, WWE Championship, No Disqualification, No Countout Falls Count Anywhere, Iron Man Match: Randy Orton vs. John Cena
Well, a lot of people were not excited about the idea of sitting through this one, so I’ll sit through it for you. It also has the stipulation that if Cena loses he will have to leave Raw, so that doesn’t exactly make the result a mystery, but we’ll see if they can do something good on the way there. They’re hyping this as the final match of a two plus year long rivalry which is actually the same thing they did with Cena and Edge at Backlash back in April. Time will tell on this one I guess. They start out trading holds until Cena gets a hiptoss, but his corner whip is reversed and he goes down. Now Orton’s whip is reversed and Cena looks for the bulldog, but Orton tosses him off which lets the announcers let us know that they’ve wrestled each other so many times that they know all the counters to the signature moves. Orton stomps him for a bit, but Cena trips him up and hooks the STF. Orton immediately taps out to put Cena up 1-0. The story there is that it’s smarter to give up a fall early in the match rather then risk injury by fighting it. There’s a 0:30 rest period in between falls too, during which the clock is running as a way to help them kill more time off. We start again with Orton nailing a powerslam and dropping a knee. Cena goes to the apron, so Orton suplexes him back in for 2. To a rear chinlock, which Cena powers out of, and then Cena hits the Throwback. He follows with the top rope legdrop and goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton springs to his feet and hits the RKO for a 3 count to tie the score 1-1. Starting again, Orton knocks Cena off the apron to the barrier, and then rams him to the steps. He preps the table and gives Cena a monitor shot in the process. That gets a 2 count on the floor. Orton grabs the mic and for a second it looks like he’s going to stop and cut a time wasting promo, but instead he just nails Cena with it. Cena has been busted open and they actually stop the clock briefly so that a couple of trainers at ringside can check him out. He doesn’t care though and charges right back at Orton, tossing him to the floor. Cena follows and rams him to the steps, but a whip to the other steps is reversed and Cena hits from which Orton gets 2. Orton then sets him on the bottom part of the steps and stomps him for another 2 before getting him back in the ring.
Fifteen Minutes In: Orton works Cena over some more, but the RKO is blocked. Cena hits two shoulderblocks and the Protobomb, followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He sets up the Attitude Adjustment and it hits, but in mid move, Orton positions himself to take Cena down as well in an RKO. That was kind of cool but I needed the replay to actually see what happened so it must have been confusing for the fans live. Anyways, they both end up with an arm on each other and the ref counts both guys down giving them another fall each to make it 2-2. What’s the point of that other than needlessly running up the score? The trainers take advantage of the rest period to wipe Cena down and close the cut up. We get going again with Orton missing a charge, so Cena puts him on the top rope and hits a super Attitude Adjustment for the 3 count to go up 3-2. Legacy runs in during the rest period and attacks Cena. Dibiase hits Dream Street and they get Orton on top for the pin to even it again at 3-3. There was no hint of the tension between Dibiase and Orton here, so perhaps that’s been dropped and they’re once again a big happy family. After that fall, Kofi Kingston runs in with a chair to clear Dibiase and Rhodes out so there’s a new feud at least. The match starts up again with a brawl on the floor and Cena rams Orton to the barrier a couple of times. They fight up to the production area where Orton knocks him down and gets a 2 count. Cena then gets thrown through some lights with a small explosion going off. Orton drags him out and covers for a 3 count to take the lead for the first time 4-3. So now Orton decided that was cool and all, but now he really wants to blow Cena up. He sets him on the stage where the pyro shoots out of and returns to the control table. He does a big dramatization of pushing the button, but when he does, nothing happens. He tries again, but still nothing. Then he just starts mashing buttons until something finally goes off, but we see that Cena has rolled out of the way just in the nick of time. And so with that filler idea out of the way, we go back to ringside where he whips Cena to the steps.
Thirty Minutes In: Orton picks up the steps and throws them at Cena which gets a 2 count. He then nails him with a chair for another 2. Back in the ring, Cena small packages him out of nowhere and that gets a 3 to tie the match 4-4. Orton immediately attacks as the rest period begins, but the ref holds him off because that doesn’t go in this anything goes match. After patiently waiting it out, Orton makes Cena pay by dropping him with the hanging DDT off the apron to the floor. That gets a 3 count and puts Orton back in the lead 5-4. They go again with Orton hitting the Garvin Stomp and dropping a knee for 2. He allows Cena to make it to his feet, and then just knocks him right back down for another 2. They do that a second time, and then a third, but that time Cena fights back so Orton bails up the aisle. Cena follows, but Orton keeps eluding him. Back to the ring they go, where Orton nails him coming in. He sets up the hanging DDT again, but Cena gets out and tries the Attitude Adjustment again, but Orton escapes that as well. Orton runs into the crowd and they kill more time as Cena chases him all the way up and back down to ringside, stopping occasionally to get a few shots in.
Forty Five Minutes In: Cena gets him back over the barrier and covers for 2. Running him to the stairs gets another 2, and then he sends him right through the part where the ring announcers and timekeeper sit. He then picks up the steps and nails Orton with them before setting them up next to the announce table. Attitude Adjustment from there through the table gets 3 for Cena and ties us up at 5-5 with about nine minutes to go. He waits out the rest period and immediately covers again, but this time Orton kicks out at 2. Cena sets a table in the ring and puts Orton on it for a legdrop, but Orton avoids it and Cena breaks the table. Both guys make it to their feet and start trading shots with Cena retaining the advantage. He sends Orton off and sits a shoulderblock, but on a second one, Orton ducks and Cena takes the ref out instead. Orton hits the RKO but there’s no ref to count. A new one quickly runs in to count, but Cena kicks out at 2. Orton takes out his frustrations on the new ref, and then sets Cena up for the punt, but it misses and Cena hooks him in the STF with just under a minute left. Orton fights and fights but with five seconds left he taps out to put Cena up 6-5 and then the 60:00 time limit expires at 60:24 (counting the time they stopped the clock to check on Cena’s cut). Cena regains the WWE Title yet again in the “final” encounter between these two. I watched it once, and I can safely say that I never want to see this match again. I was worried they’d have trouble filling time, and I was right. What they basically did was take their standard 20:00 PPV main event, and they stretched it out to 60:00. They had the benefit of being able to do all the falls to keep it interesting, but all they really did here was prove that neither of them are true sixty minute men. It has some redeeming value, but as a main event and supposed blowoff to a major multi year feud, it fails. **
Alright, so that’s Bragging Rights. My two main feelings coming out of it are that I don’t care about anything I just saw, and that this may be the most forgettable show in years. The action was fine, not really any better or worse then anything you might see on any other PPV and certainly nothing blew me away. Then that Ironman Match came on, and well, maybe the less said about that one going forward, the better. Thumbs Down for Bragging Rights 2009 and a recommendation to just forget about it.