January 10, 2009
Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 1/5/09
New Orleans Arena
New Orleans, LA
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- We start this week’s show with a dramatic look back at the recent travails of Shawn Michaels, which kicked off at Armageddon last month and continued on to last week, when Shawn handed JBL a spot in the Royal Rumble World Heavyweight Championship match. We then fade into the arena where Randy Orton and Chris Jericho are together in the ring and being showered with boos. Jericho says that they are out there to address the atrocity of last week. The rules of a fatal four way state that it is every man for himself, but the video shows Michaels worked in collusion with JBL, which broke the rules and tainted the integrity of the match. Therefore, they have jointly filed a formal protest about last week’s actions. Orton says they feel JBL should be removed from his Rumble match and that Michaels should not be able to compete for the title again. He says they have agreed to face off tonight for the Rumble slot. Jericho says it doesn’t matter if they are liked or respected but he and Orton fought a fair match while JBL and Michaels corrupted it. Jericho is interrupted by the closing bell and a limo pulls into the aisle. The driver opens the door and Shawn Michaels and JBL emerge, both decked out in their cowboy hats. Michaels is looking somber once again as he slowly walks to the ring in front of his boss. JBL says they can protest all they want, but he won the match and he will face and defeat Cena in three weeks. He tells them to lose with dignity. They have the audacity to cast aspersions at JBL knowing their own track records. He knows they would have done the same thing if they had the resources. Jericho says he is wrong because they don’t deal with dishonest people. Jericho asks Michaels how he feels. He spent months being chastised because he spent months claiming Michaels was a sellout and a phony, and he has proved Jericho right. Michaels’ actions have proved Jericho to be a prophet. Michaels says that there is one thing that helps him sleep at night is that he ensured neither Jericho nor Orton got to fight for the World title. Orton says he can justify it all he wants but he took a turn for the worse. Michaels isn’t only hurting himself, it turns out that Ric Flair’s career was ended by a weak, pathetic sellout. Orton says last week’s decision will be overturned when their protest is heard. Well, we may find out right now as Stephanie McMahon heads out on the ramp to address us. She has read the complaint but the fact of the matter is that Michaels did not lie down, the decision stands and JBL will move on to the Rumble. It is her show and her decision stands. Jericho and Orton are officially entered in the Rumble match and will have a chance to Main Event Wrestlemania. Jericho said that isn’t an award because they should be in the Rumble anyway, but Michaels doesn’t deserve to be in. He will poison that match like he did last week and should not be allowed in. JBL agrees and says that he has already told Michaels that his sole purpose that night is to ensure JBL’s victory. His only function that night will be to stand in JBL’s corner and assist him against John Cena. Steph accepts it but she is also out here to talk about tonight. She could easily make a tag team match here, but she wants to make things more interesting and we will see if Michaels has any integrity left. Therefore, Orton and Jericho will take on Michaels…and John Cena.

- The Just For Men Slam of the Week looks back at last week’s Diva battle royal, which was won by Melina.

1) Goldust & Melina vs. Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix
We are back and Goldust is in the ring and preparing for some mixed tag action. His partner, Melina, is out next and she happily struts down the aisle and into the ring. Rosa Mendez is in the crowd once again and King is surprised they let her back in the arena. Glamarella is out next and Beth forces Santino to carry her Slammy in a funny little spot. The bell sounds and Beth and Melina will kick things off. They lock up and Beth garbs a double underhook and headbutts Melina down. Melina slugs back but Beth puts her down with a back elbow. Beth lifts her with a wristlock and Santino tags himself in. He grabs Melina, but she smacks him and tags Goldust. Goldust smacks Santino and takes him down and starts to work the arm. King says that Goldust is the skeleton in his family’s closet. Santino mares Goldust over and lands some forearms before going to a reverse chinlock. Goldust fights up and elbows free. He lands an uppercut and follows with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. He nails Santino with the butt bump for two before Beth breaks it up. Santino is sent outside and Goldust tags in Melina. Beth meets her in the middle of the ring and runs her into the buckle. Melina lands a boot to the head on a Beth charge and then nails a top rope faceplant. She grabs a jackknife pin and gets the upset win. Goldust & Melina d. Phoenix & Marella when Melina pins Phoenix with a top rope facebuster; Grade: 1.5

- As Melina rolls outside the ring, Rosa grabs her from behind and they start scuffling. Rosa is taken back over the barricade by security and Melina tries to follow her. Rosa is pushed away as Melina comes back in the ring to celebrate. Backstage, the Grish is with CM Punk. Last time we saw Punk, Regal had attacked him after his match last week. Grish asks how he is feeling. Punk is stoked and he has always wanted to be the IC champ. Steamboat, Hart, Perfect have all held the belt and he wants to add his name to that elite list. A lot of people may have also forgotten that Regal defeated Punk in the KOTR tournament last year, but he hasn’t. He will start the New Year off with a bang by winning the IC title here tonight. Punk walks off and we are off to break.

- We are checking out downtown New Orleans before heading back inside for our next match.

2) CM Punk vs. William Regal for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Punk is out first and is fired up to settle this issue and take home some gold. Regal and Layla are out next and they have the IC gold in tow. Cole and King talk about the history between these two men as Regal climbs in the ring and disrobes. The bell sounds and we get a lockup to start. They trade fists and Punk also fires off some kicks. He takes Regal over with a snap suplex for two. Punk lands a kneelift and shoots Regal into the corner. Regal slips away from a charge and rolls to the floor. Punk fakes a plancha and Regal pulls Layla in front of him, which allows Regal the chance to sucker punch Punk. He nails Punk coming back and follows with a kneedrop and some fists and some lateral presses. Regal lands some shots with his knees and puts Punk down hard with a shoulderblock. Regal hooks a seated half nelson but Punk fights up and smacks Regal around. He tries a kick, but Regal drills him in the gut. Regal walks into a kick and Punk gets two. Punk nails the running kneelift but Regal blocks the bulldog. He shoots Regal into the corner and hoists him up for the G2S on the rebound. Regal is struggling and grabs Mike Chioda’s shirt. He keeps yanking Chioda around, eventually drawing the cheap DQ. The crowd isn’t happy with that one. Punk d. Regal by disqualification; Grade: 1

- As Regal and Layla head off, Steph appears on the Titantron. She says she can’t let the first title match of 2009 go down like this. Punk will get a rematch and if Regal is DQ’d, he will lose the belt. Punk paces in the ring as we go to break.

- Backstage, JBL is talking to Shawn Michaels, saying things couldn’t have gone better for them. JBL tells Shawn to lure Cena in and then take him out. If Cena takes an RKO or Codebreaker, he gets a bonus. But, if Cena gets punted by Orton and taken out of the Rumble match then Shawn hits the lottery. He hired Mr. Wrestlemania to get JBL to Wrestlemania XXV, where he will arrive home to Texas as the conquering hero, a World champion. If that happens, Michaels gets financial security for the rest of his life and he will never have to worry about anything again. JBL heads off as Shawn ponders. We cut to Orton telling Cody and Sim that they passed phase one by winning last week. If they win again tonight, they are officially in his group. Their fathers are Hall of Famers and he will not accept failure out of them. Manu comes in and asks for another chance. He says that no one is perfect and even Orton lost his match last week. Orton doesn’t like that one and tells Manu that he gave him a shot to be aligned with him, but Manu has done nothing to earn it. Manu’s father Afa is nothing compared to Orton or his Dad. Half the people out there don’t even know Manu’s name and he has the audacity to call Orton out? He has no shot at ever being part of Orton’s group and Orton never wants to see his face again. Cody and Sim stare at Manu and then follow Orton as he walks off. Elsewhere, Dolph Ziggler introduces himself to Mickie James as Rey and Kofi pass by them. They are in action next and we are going to break.

3) Kofi Kingston & Rey Mysterio vs. John Morrison & the Miz in a non title match
We are back and Morrison and the Miz are heading to the ring in all of their slow motion glory. Miz has the mic and is shocked that they would be booed. He says it is more like “boo you!” Morrison says that the city that recently took over the spot of murder capital of the US has any room to judge. Miz apologizes for being World Champions and two time Slammy winners. Morrison says they are saving the planet one low flow toilet flush at a time and are the greatest tag team of the 21st century and we need to…Be Jealous! Rey is out next to a good pop and he is followed by Kofi Kingston and his sweet ass music. We officially learn that Rey and Kofi are both in the Rumble, per Steph. Miz and Kofi start things off with a lockup. Kofi blocks a punch off the break and lands some of his own. Kofi lands a cross body press for one. He charges at Miz, but Miz bails to the floor. Kofi teases a plancha and is all fired up as we go to break. When we return, Miz has Rey in a rear chinlock. During the break, Miz was able to nail Rey with a flapjack to gain control. Rey fights out of the hold, but Miz retains control. Rey floats over a charge and takes Miz into the middle buckle with a headscissors. He tags in Kofi, who lands a dropkick and a flying clothesline.

He knocks Morrison to the floor and then heads up top, but Morrison is able to recover and trip him up and Kofi careens to the mat. Miz immediately starts attacking Kofi’s knee and tags in Morrison. Morrison keeps working the knee. Morrison slides outside and works Kofi’s knee over the apron. He tags in Miz who kicks the knee of Kofi and keeps the attack on. The crowd tries to rally Kofi as Miz works the knee. Miz grabs a front chancery and is able to prevent Kofi from making a tag. He slugs Rey to the floor and thus he isn’t there to tag Kofi when he is able to crawl to the corner. Miz pulls Kofi back over, grabs a leg lace and tags in Morrison. John hammers away at Kofi and then goes back to the knee. He lands a stiff knee to the head of the seated Kofi, but Kingston is able to wriggle free. He fights off Morrison for a moment, but Morrison eventually regains control and tags in Miz. Miz sits Kofi on the top rope and climbs up after him. Miz slugs away but Kofi fires back and he shoves him to the mat. Kofi lands a dropkick from the middle rope and both men make tags. Rey kicks away at Morrison and nails him with a huracarrana. He slips out of a sunset flip and lands a seated dropkick for two. Morrison catches Rey off a springboard and plants him with an inverted powerbomb for two. Rey kicks away at Morrison and is able to leap top the top and takes Morrison over with a stiff DDT for two as Miz breaks up the cover. Miz goes for a powerbomb but Rey wriggles free. Kofi charges and takes Miz out over the top. Rey dropkicks Morrison into the middle rope and drills him with the 619. Miz charges, but Rey sends him to the floor. Rey springboards and Morrison catches him with a leaping kick to the gut and picks up the win. Great tag match as you would expect from these four. Miz and Morrison are the best. Miz & Morrison d. Mysterio & Kingston when Morrison pins Mysterio with a leaping kick; Grade: 3

- As Rey recovers, Mike Knox hits the ring and takes Rey down. He slingshots Rey’s neck into the middle rope and then sends Kofi hard to the floor as he tried to help. Knox crotches Rey on the top rope and then he kicks him down to the floor. Knox walks off as Rey writhes in pain. Backstage, Michaels is getting his gear on when he is joined by John Cena. Cena knows the situation is what it is but he wants to know if he is fight two or three guys. Is Michaels going to be HBK or JBL’s puppet? HBK says he is no puppet and tells Cena to expect what history tells him to. Michaels storms off and we storm to break.

4) Kelly vs. Jillian Hall
We are back and it is time to Holla as Kelly is skipping out to the ring. Jillian is out next and sings “When the Saints Go Marching In” as only she can. They lock up off the bell and Jillian grabs a waistlock. Kelly works out and grabs a front facelock. Jillian breaks it by hoisting Kelly to the apron. She baits Kelly back in and attacks as she comes through the ropes. Jillian mares Kelly over and kicks her for two. Jillian yanks the hair and then boots Kelly in the back. She steps on Kelly’s face and then yanks on the hair some more. Jillian is viciously ramming Kelly face into the mat while taunting her. She pulls Kelly up and spikes her with a faceplant. Jillian lands a boot and gets two. She locks in a seated full nelson and screams at Kelly the whole time. Kelly fights free and hits her airplane spin headscissors to take Jillian down. Kelly heads up top and comes off with a high cross body for two. Kelly hits a pair of clotheslines and a one legged dropkick for two. Kelly hammers away and goes for a victory roll, but Jillian drops down and gets two. Jillian shoots Kelly into the corner and tries a handspring elbow, but Kelly kicks her in the back. Kelly hits a Rocker Dropper and picks up the hard fought win in a pretty good Diva match. Kelly d. Jillian with a Rocker Dropper; Grade: 2

- Jillian jumps Kelly and takes her out. She is working her over when Kane decides to make an appearance through his hellfire and brimstone. Jillian takes off through the crowd as Kelly struggles to recover. Kane says that the truth finally came out: she never liked Kane and was protecting Orton. But, Orton rejected Kelly, which doesn’t feel real good, he is sure. Next week, Kane goes back to doing what makes him feel good: eviscerating people. He has a match with Orton next week and tells Kelly to feel free to watch it. Kane slams the mic down and walks off.

- When we return, Cole and King talk about this week’s Smackdown as Triple H will gave to compete in three matches as a result of antagonizing Vickie Guerrero. We then head to the ring for our next match.

5) Cody Rhodes & Sim Snuka vs. Cryme Tyme
Cody and Sim are out first as they try and cement their slot in the Legacy. Cryme Tyme head out next and we are set to go. JTG and Sim start things off with a lockup. JTG grabs a waistlock but Sim reverses it. JTG nails a back elbow but Sim gets a small package for two. Sim misses a clothesline and JTG hits his somersault clothesline for two. He tags in Shad who sends Sim flying hard to the mat. Cody is begging for a tag as Shad works over Sim in the corner. He tags JTG, who splashes Sim into the corner. Cody comes in, but JTG slugs him down. That allows Sim to take control but it is brief as JTG takes Sim down with a clothesline. JTG charges Sim, but he gets a knee up to take JTG out. Sim tags in Cody, who tosses JTG to the apron. Cody gets tied up with the referee as Sim snaps JTG hard to the mat. Cody lands some boots and gets a near fall. Cody tags Sim who lands a leaping fist drop for two. Sim grabs a rear chinlock as the crowd tries to rally JTG. JTG fights to his feet, but Sim smacks him. JTG is able to finally get away and both men make tags. Shad drills Cody with a clothesline and then sends him over with a back drop. Shad slams Cody and drops an elbow for two. Snuka breaks up the cover but Shad clotheslines him out to the floor. Shad charges Cody in the corner, but Cody dodges it and he nails the post. Shad tags JTG who slingshots in with a sunset flip for two. Cody lands a knee and goes for his DDT, but JTG blocks it. Cody recovers and hits an STO and picks up the win to ensure himself and Snuka a slot in the Legacy. Rhodes & Snuka d. Cryme Tyme when Rhodes pins JTG with an STO; Grade: 1.5

- JBL emerges from his locker room with an interesting smirk and walks off as we go to break.

- We are back and taking a look at Behind Enemy Lines Columbia, which comes out tomorrow. After that, Cody and Sim are walking backstage and Orton congratulates Cody as they approach. Orton bluntly tells Sim he is out of the Legacy. Sim doesn’t get it, but Orton says Cody won the match and it is as simple as that and he doesn’t have time to explain any more. Sim says only one man can get the pin in a tag match. Orton says he wanted to see who the weak link was and asks Cody if he thinks Sim is the weak link or if he thinks Sim has a point. Cody says he knows he won the match and apologizes to Sim as he and Orton walk off. Elsewhere, Steph is telling Glamarella that Rosa Mendez is to be banned from WWE events. Santino says she is attracted to him and he cannot help that. His “nurples” are flickering like the Northern lights. Beth thanks Steph and drags Santino off. Jericho bursts in and says that Raw isn’t really Steph’s show and he also sent his protest to Vince McMahon as well. Steph says that ever since the accident, Vince has been out of the picture. Jericho says he though that too but that he got a call from Vince’s office and that Vince is returning in two weeks. Steph is shocked and Jericho says we will find out whose show it really is at that time. Jericho walks off as Steph stands in shock. We then see Cena walking as we go to break.

- Back from break, Cole tells us that the Regal/Punk rematch will go down next week and the DQ title change stip will be enforced.

6) John Cena & Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton & Chris Jericho
And with that, it is main event time as Randy Orton slowly stalks his way to the ring. Jericho makes his way out next and he is then followed by Michaels and Cena, who emerges to a loud pop. Cena and Jericho start off and Jericho grabs a side headlock. Cena fights up and shoots Jericho into the ropes but Jericho lands a shoulderblock. Cena retaliates with a headlock takeover and wrenches it in. Michaels tags Cena as he hits the ropes. Jericho slips out of an FU attempt and then ducks SCM. Jericho is tossed to the floor and JBL appears on the ramp to watch the match as we go to commercial. When we return, Orton has a chinlock on Michaels. Shawn elbows out and takes Orton over with a back suplex. Lawler tells us that JBL has left during the break. Michaels tags Cena who hits a shoulderblock and hits spinning powerbomb. Cena drops the Five Knuckle Shuffle to a mixed reaction and then he tries for the FU. Jericho comes in but Michaels stops him. Orton rakes Cena’s eyes and slips free. A blinded Cena hoists Shawn up by accident, but Cena puts him down. Shawn isn’t happy and that distraction allows Orton to club Cena from behind. Jericho is tagged in and he works over Cena in the corner. Orton knocks Cena down from the apron and Jericho baseball slide kicks Cena to the floor. Jericho follows him out and runs Cena into the announce table. He tosses Cena back and hits a slingshot splash for two. Jericho grabs a reverse chinlock but Cena breaks the hold by lifting Jericho into the FU setup. Jericho blocks it and takes Cena down with a DDT for two. Jericho tags Orton who kicks away at Cena and then goes into the Garvin Stomp and a near fall. We see Michaels staring at the mat as Orton continues the assault. Orton chokes Cena with his boot in the corner and then tags Jericho back in. Cena fights back but Jericho grabs a sleeper. Jericho works the hold as the crowd is getting behind Cena. Cena powers out but Jericho lands a clothesline to keep control. He sits Cena on the top rope and follows him up. He tries for a superplex but Cena blocks it and sends him flying to the mat. Cena comes off with a legdrop. Jericho makes the tag and Orton is able to stop Cena just before he tags. Cena is able to avoid a dropkick and slowly pull himself up and makes the tag. Michaels is conflicted and he looks at Cena but drills Jericho. He nails the flying forearm and an inverted atomic drop. Jericho is able to stop the flurry and goes for the Lionsault, but Michaels gets the knees up. He slams Jericho and heads up top. Michaels goes for the elbow, but Jericho gets his knees up this time. Jericho goes for the Walls but Michaels gets a small package for two. Orton charges but he eats SCM. Michaels nails Jericho with SCM as well and picks up the win. Cena quickly goes to the apron and nods in approval. Michaels & Cena d. Orton & Jericho when Michaels pins Jericho with Sweet Chin Music; Grade: 3.5

- JBL is watching from backstage and the Grish comes up and says that Michaels’ integrity is still in tact. JBL says his employee looked great tonight but he just met with Steph. Michaels will take on Cena next week and JBL will be in Shawn’s corner.

Final Analysis
The opening segment was great stuff as all four men are tremendous talkers and on top of their games right now. I like that JBL is using Michaels solely to further his career and Michaels is just awesome with his facials and tone in his limited speaking parts. Jericho is amazing at tying everything together and making perfect sense out of his angles. The mixed tag was decent enough but really only existed to further the build for Beth and Melina’s throwdown at the Rumble. I was really getting into the Punk/Regal match and just as it was getting cooking, they pulled the cheap finish. I am guessing it sets up a Rumble rematch, but they still could have gotten more time. The tremendous promo work continued backstage with JBL’s pep talk to Shawn and Orton’s dressing down of Manu. The tag match was a lot of fun as Miz and Morrison have just become aces at the tag formula. They are the hardest working guys out there right now as they wrestle on TV two or three times a week and always deliver a really good match. The Rey/Knox feud rolls on and I am sure that will either lead to Rey tossing Knox or some sort of nasty elimination bump by Rey at the hands of Knox in the Rumble. The Jillian/Kelly match was surprisingly good as Jillian looked motivated to deliver out there tonight and Kelly held her own. The Kane saga carries on and he will fight for Kelly’s honor next week. The Legacy tag match was a bit sloppy but Rhodes and Snuka locked up their spots in Orton’s group with a solid win. The main event was excellent; mainly thanks to the crazy heat that surrounds all four men. Overall, the crowd stayed hot all night and the solid Rumble build continued. The promo work and angle development was aces tonight but the matches were all kind of blah outside of the Miz & Morrison match and the main event, so the show felt a bit up and down throughout. Jericho, Orton, JBL and Michaels just completely carried the show with their work and without their show long angles this week’s episode would have been a stinker. As it was, the show was just enjoyable enough thanks to those four and the solid Rumble build. I had the show rated lower, but the greatness of the final match bumped it up a notch. Final Grade: B-

MVP: Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels & John Bradshaw Layfield
Runner Up: Miz & Morrison
Non MVP: CM Punk
Runner Up: Beth Phoenix

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