November 19, 2008
Scott Criscuolo

Drama's Raw Report 11/17/08
Monday Night Raw
November 17, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler

OPENING ANIMATION

We open our show without pyro, and the ring is loaded with Raw superstars. Michael Cole takes the mike, and quickly announces Daddy's little girl to the ring. Stephanie McMahon is standing at a podium on stage. Steph says ever since Mike Adamle stepped down as GM of Raw her office has been inundated with e-mails and calls about the situation. Thus the open forum tonight. Steph opens the floor and Randy Orton steps to the little platform in the ring. Randy asks why is it that Sunday's World Heavyweight Title match went to John Cena? Orton says he is more talented and special that Cena will ever be, so what is so special about Cena that he gets the title shot? Stephanie says that decision was made by her brother Shane without her consent. Besides that Cena, before being injured against Batista at Summerslam was a top contender and a 3-time WWE Champion, so that's why he has the title shot on Sunday. Orton says fine, but Orton turns to the masses says whoever wins, he's next. Next up is Cody Rhodes, who says two weeks ago Randy Orton punted his partner Ted DiBiase in the head, giving him a concussion. Rhodes says rather than being punished, he's made captain of a team, and even worse Rhodes is on that team. Rhodes says why wasn't Orton suspended, and Steph says he has to pay the piper against another guy he kicked in the head. That guy is CM Punk, and Orton must face Punk tonight, and to ensure there's a winner, it will be a 30-man Lumberjack match. Orton grabs the mike and says that will only lead to total chaos. Stephanie disagrees and she re-opens the floor. Next up thank god is Santino Marella, and he says the rap star Aconn is here. So his question will be asked in the form of a rap. The Glamazon Beth Phoenix hands Santino a hat and some cheesy rap music comes on. His rap goes as follows:

I'm Santino Marella, and I'm from Europe
I like my pancakes with Maple Syrup
I lost my title to William Regal
His knee to my head should have been illegal
Now I'm healthy and it is vital I want back my IC Title

He follows that up with awesome cheesy rap noise, and he turns to tell Regal that even though he's not in a restaurant, he got serrrrrrrved. Stephanie says Santino had two rematches overseas and lost them both. Santino turns to jaw with Acorn and says he hopes squirrels gnaw on his privates. Stephanie cuts him off and asks if anyone else has a question. JBL steps to the platform and asks where Stephanie's father is. He needs to talk to Mr. McMahon to discuss a common enemy, Shawn Michaels. Steph says her father is out of the picture and she and Shane are running the show. As far as Shawn Michaels are concerned Steph says to JBL that he and HBK are team captains in a survivor match on Sunday. Then we hear ol' HBK walk from the crowd and ask what if, hypothetically, one didn't want to wait till Sunday after getting their head bashed in with a steel chair last week and wanted to get some payback, say right now? Stephanie says sorry Shawn, wait till Sunday. HBK says patience is a fine virtue, and everyone's responsible for their own actions, so he apologizes for what he's about to do, and he jumps off the platform and attacks JBL. They scrum and the ring disperses, JBL bails and Shawn takes his hat as we go to break.

Kelly Kelly vs. Victoria

Well if we're going to have a inter-diva match, might as well have one of the few SD divas that can wrestle. Victoria takes over with some shots but Kelly Kelly with a spinning head scissors. Kelly celebrates and hits a Chyna flip splash in the corner, then a headlock which Victoria responds into a clothesline. Victoria with a backbreaker, then into what she calls "Arach-nophobia" backbreaker for 2. Kelly Kelly's into the corner and goes for a sidewalk slam, which Kelly Kelly somehow reverses into a roll-up for the 3 count. WINNER: Kelly Kelly (Grade: 1) -Victoria then attacks Kelly Kelly from behind and gives her the Widow's Peak, which brings out the Raw girls of Mickie James, Candice, and Jillian. Victoria bails, but gets jumped by Beth Phoenix who pitches her in the ring and the Raw girls work her over.

Michael and Jerry go over the two Survivor Series matches involving the Raw captains (Team Batista vs. Team Orton and Team JBL vs. Team HBK. Then we see Batista walking down the hallway, he faces Manu next!

Batista vs. Manu

Time to unleash....THE ANIMAL. We see a graphic of Manu's relatives, the Wild Samoans talking about the bloodline. Randy Orton comes sauntering down the ramp as the match begins. They lock up and Batista with a headlock, but Manu breaks it and eats a shoulder block but he throws one right back at the Animal. Manu with some right hands but he takes a boot. Batista then goes for a Demon Bomb but Manu reverses into a sweet Samoan Drop. Manu with a swinging kick for 2, then he throws Batista into the steel post. Manu then with the nerve pinch, which eats up a minute or 2. Batista's momentum puts Manu into the post, but Manu regains control. He hits Batista with a big splash for 2. Manu with a big head butt to the shoulder for 2. Manu goes for a clothesline but Batista with a boot to the head. Batista goes for the Demon Bomb again and Manu reverses it into a back drop. Both men are staggered but Batista has enough to hit the spear and the Demon Bomb for the win. Expected win but a nice showing by Manu. WINNER: Batista (Grade: 2)

-Batista grabs the mike and says to Orton for 3 years he's done nothing but listen to him bad mouth himself and Evolution. Orton needs to stop bitching and whining about John Cena and who's next in line for a title shot and worry about the Animal at Survivor Series.

-A couple of nice tag team matches tonight: Cryme Tyme vs. JBL and Kane, plus Morrison & Miz vs. Shawn Michaels & Rey Mysterio

-We're back and Stephanie McMahon is at the top of the ramp, and she introduces WWE Hall of Famer Chief Jay Strongbow, who comes out to a decent pop. We then go backstage with Randy Orton who gives Cody Rhodes crap about not getting into the ring with Batista, and Cody says Orton didn't rush in there either. Orton says you need to learn to back your words up, and Rhodes trumps him with a good line saying keep talking Randy, because that's what you're good at.

-We get an Evan Bourne piece, and then he comes out live with Todd Grisham to update everyone on his ankle injury, until he's interrupted by Mike Knox, who just stands over him in a creepy way. Then Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio are walking the hallway, when Shawn tells them to stop the music. He tells Rey that he's taken this walk before with Marty Jannetty, Triple H, even Hulk Hogan. Shawn admits he's nervous. Rey tells him to take it one step at a time. Shawn feels better and they start walking the hallway, and they run into Dolph Ziggler, who Shawn treats like he's the greatest thing in the world. Funny segment as we go to break.

John Morrison & The Miz vs. Shawn Michaels & Rey Mysterio

HBK and Morrison lock up and Shawn with a shoulder block and a chop, then a tag to Rey, who hits Morrison with a low drop kick after an HBK drop toe hold. Rey with a kick into a Hurricanrana, and Morrison is laying on the second rope. Rey goes for the 619 but Miz trips him, which gets HBK out to smack him, then plancha him. Rey then plancha's Morrison on the other side of the ring. The heels are out on the floor as we go to break. Back from break and Miz has HBK in a headlock. Miz with a knee but he misses a leg drop. Both men are down and Shawn tags Rey who hits a sit down splash from the top rope. Rey with a Hurricanrana, then he charges Miz who tries a back drop but Rey lands on the apron and he whacks Morrison off the apron. Miz then grabs Rey by the head and throws him into the steel post and he goes flying. Morrison pitches Rey back in the ring and he tags in. Morrison stomps for a bit and tags Miz back in and a double stomachbreaker. Miz with some form of a submission where he holds Rey's leg and arm while driving his knee into Rey's ribs. Miz goes for a sunset flip but Rey flips out of it and hits a low drop kick. Miz tags Morrison and he gives Rey the business. Morrison with an Abdominal Stretch. Rey breaks it with a knee to the head, then he crawls through Morrison's legs to try and get the tag on Michaels but Morrison grabs his leg, pulls him back and hits a gut-buster for 2. Tag to Miz and he gets some shots on Rey in. Tag back to Morrison and more kicks to the ribs. Morrison with a unique chinlock on Rey, wrapping his head around the rope. Off the ropes and Rey goes into the corner, but Morrison goes for his springboard kick and Rey drop kicks him in the air. Morrison tags Miz but Rey finally tags HBK and he gets his moves in on Miz, ending with the elbow drop. HBK starts tuning up the band but Miz ducks, and HBK goes for the Figure Four but Miz gets out of it. Miz whips HBK into the corner, HBK flips but ends up clotheslining Morrison and Miz. Miz comes into the ring, and Rey sets up and hits the 619. HBK then hits Sweet Chin Music on Miz, but the ref was too busy with Rey and Morrison hits Sweet Chin Music on HBK, then dumps Miz's prone body on him and Miz gets the improbable 3 count. This is a huge win for Morrison & Miz and a great match. WINNER: Morrison & Miz (Grade: 3.5)

-We get another John Cena vignette to the tune of Ryan Star's "This Could Be the Year". Cena's return at the TD Banknorth Garden could be as big a return as Triple H's in 2002 at MSG. -Backstage Stephanie McMahon is with World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, who says John Cena's return will cause anarchy and chaos in the Raw locker room. Jericho says whether anyone wants to admit it or not, everyone hopes next Monday night on Raw from Providence, Jericho is still World Heavyweight Champion. Jericho tells Stephanie to think about that, and he leaves. Stephanie used to look really not, but now she's looking a little homely. -Back from break and Todd Grisham is with CM Punk, and Grisham says at Unforgiven he couldn't defend his title, and we go back to that show when Orton punted Cena in the head and cost Punk his World Heavyweight Championship. Punk says the past couple of weeks have been frustrating. He still doesn't know why Randy Orton kicked him in the head, but Punk says its because Orton wanted to still feel relevant. Punk says he knows tonight that in that lumberjack match Orton can't escape since there will be 30 guys around the ring who will throw him back in, by force if necessary. Punk says he doesn't have a Hall of Fame dad, he wasn't mentored by Ric Flair and Triple H. Punk says he just worked very hard for everything he's got, and tonight he says he'll work very hard at payback. -JBL is getting his boots together when Kane walks in and he asks if his "captain" has any advice. JBL says to Kane that they actually are quite compatible. Kane says JBL gives financial advice, whereas he electrocutes groins with car batteries. Kane tells JBL he takes no instructions from anyone and if there's any problems, it will make Mutiny on the Bounty seem like Child's Play. JBL responds with "Good Talk."

Cryme Tyme vs. JBL & Kane

JBL and JTG get started and JBL with some clubbing blows but JTG gets control and tags Shad Gaspard who hits a knee and some punches. JBL with some punches of his own, but JTG with a punch and JBL is whipped into the ropes, Shad tags JTG who hits some sort of flip forearm move. Cryme Tyme has the most unusual maneuvers. JTG with an armbar and a tag to Shad who hip tosses JBL for 2. Shad keeps working the arm and JTG leapfrogs on it. JTG puts his head down for a back drop and JBL clubs him in the neck. JBL finally tags Kane and he slams JTG. Off the ropes with a drop kick, followed by a slam into the corner. Kane starts pummeling and a clothesline in the other corner, then a side slam. Kane clubs Shad off the apron, then Kane goes to the top rope and hits his clothesline. Kane goes for a chokeslam, but JBL blind tags himself, and he hits the Clothesline from Hell for the 3 count. WINNERS: JBL & Kane (Grade: 2)

-Backstage Evan Bourne is talking with Kofi Kingston, and Kofi hopes his friend is ready for the Royal Rumble. Then out of nowhere Mike Knox attacks both guys, beats the crap out of Kofi. He grabs Bourne's crutch and smacks his injured ankle with it. An effective use of Knox as the huge bully.

Intercontinental Champion William Regal vs. ECW Champion Matt Hardy

Regal grabs the mike and says the fact that a rap star got a warmer reception than he did shows the problems America has. Regal says now everyone knows why Great Britian is more respected than the USA across the world. Regal says England knows respect and service. Regal says he serves his queen with dignity and loyalty. He says those are concepts foreign to those in the crowd. I wonder if Matt's knee is ok after tweaking it last Friday night on Smackdown in a win over US Champion Shelton Benjamin. They lock up and Regal with a hammerlock. Hardy reverses it into a rollup for 2. They hook up for a backslide and Regal kicks out at 2. Regal pitches Matt into the ring and Regal with some kicks. Matt pulls Regal off the apron and they battle outside. They slam each other into the barricade. They keep fighting and the referee counts both of them out. That was strange and they keep fighting. WINNER: Double Countout (Grade: N/A)

-We get a recap of the WWE's tour of Europe, and I hope Rome cheered for Santino Marella. We're then joined in the ring by the World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Jericho. Jericho says for the past month we've been treated to the very heartfelt story of John Cena. Now Jericho wants to tell another story, one of a true champion. One that started a whole 9 months before John Cena ever even got into a WWE Ring. We then rock the Vengeance 2001 highlights of Jericho defeating the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night to become Undisputed Champion. Jericho says it was a moment in time that has superceded anything John Cena has ever done. It's superceded anything in history, but Jericho says it wasn't enough for him, he needed more. So this past September at Unforgiven he won the first scramble match to become World Heavyweight Champion. He wasn't even supposed to be in the match, and he still made history. While John Cena has recuperated from his injury, Jericho has achieved greatness time and time again. He defeated CM Punk in a steel cage, then two weeks later at No Mercy he beat Shawn Michaels in the match he wasn't supposed to lose: the Ladder match. Then two weeks ago in another grueling cage match, Jericho says he defeated Batista to become 5-time World Champion. Jericho has won every type of match he's ever been in, and he defeated every legendary superstar out there. Jericho says he's attained more success than anyone could have imagined. Yet all the energy and pomp and circumstance has been directed at one man: John Cena. No Cena has been treated as a savior and a conquering hero, but Jericho says Cena has never conquered him (but Jericho's not counting Cena's two wins over Y2J in 2005). Every fairy tale ending on Raw, according to Jericho, has ended the same: With Jericho holding the World Heavyweight Championship. He's at the top of his game, and he won't allow John Cena to take his title and everything he's earned. Jericho says contrary to what the fans have heard, the centerpiece of Raw is not John Cena. The centerpiece of Raw is its champion, Chris Jericho. He says at Survivor Series he will extinguish and put out the fire and finally Raw will be saved. Another top notch promo.

Lumberjack match: Randy Orton vs. CM Punk

I HEAR VOICES IN MY HEAD, THEY COUNSEL ME, THEY UNDERSTAND, THEY TALK TO ME. RKO comes down the aisle to his incredibly swank theme. They lock up and hold the collar and elbow tie up for a moment, then break it. They lock up again and Punk with a front facelock. Orton reverses into a hammerlock but Punk easily gets out of it. Orton with a boot to the gut, and Punk is pitched out, but he gets back in very quick. Punk with a waist lock, but Orton with a reverse elbow and shoulder block. Off the ropes and Punk with a spin kick and Orton rolls out of the ring right into the faces corner of lumberjacks, and Matt Hardy pitches him back in. Punk with a roll-up for 2, then a backslide. Punk pitches Orton out, but Orton cheap shots Jamie Noble and the faces work Orton over. They pitch Orton back in and Orton whips Punk into the post. Mark Henry then pulls Punk to the floor as the heels try to work him over but the faces stop. Punk back in the ring and Orton gets some 2 counts. Orton stomps Punk but the Straight Edge superstar tries to fight back with punches but Orton with a standing drop kick for 2. Orton with a kick and a knee drop for 2. Orton with a headlock. Punk breaks it with kicks and a boot to the head, but Orton with a scoop slam out of nowhere for 2. Orton with a knee drop for 2. Back to the headlock. Punk tries to break it but Orton with a clubbing blow to the head. Orton off the ropes and Punk with a spinning neckbreaker out of the blue. Both get to their feet and Punk with forearms. Punk with a boot to the head for 2 . Punk whips Orton in but Orton hits a knee. Both men are down but Punk with a knee to the midsection. Batista distracts Orton and Punk goes for the GTS but Orton hits the backbreaker. Punk pitches Orton out and he scrums with the lumberjacks. Punk then planchas over Orton and a couple of other guys. Punk gets back in the ring, and William Regal swipes at Punk's leg, which distracts him enough for Orton to hit the RKO and get the win. WINNER: Randy Orton (Grade: 2)

-Orton tries to punt Punk's head again, but Batista comes in to spear him. JBL attacks Batista, which brings HBK in, which brings Kane in, which brings Rey Mysterio in. Then all the lumberjacks start brawling as we go off the air.

DRAMA'S TAKE: An effective go home episode of Raw towards Survivor Series. The opening promo was kind of lame, as I think we all thought a new General Manager or something was going to be announced, and instead it was a cheap way for HBK to attack JBL, and for the Orton/Punk match to include lumberjacks. Well except for Santino's awesome rap. The women's match was ok, as it was just a way to get the divas match at Survivor Series over. Batista had a hard fought win over a good opponent in Manu, who impressed tonight going power move for power move. I like the whole Evan Bourne recovery storyline, as well as the perfect way to use Mike Knox: a crazy, intimidating bully. The tag matches were solid, as its evident that Morrison & Miz continue to be high on the booker's list. Chris Jericho's promo was awesome, but something tells me John Cena's taking the title Sunday. The main event was ok, but it was really just to match up all the feuds and have a brawl. Not a bad effort tonight, but I'm excited for next week's Raw, live from the Dunk, and we may have a new World Heavyweight Champion.

FINAL GRADE: B-
MVP: Batista
Runner Up: Randy Orton
Non MVP: CM Punk
Runner Up: Shawn Michaels/Rey Mysterio

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