December 16, 2008
Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 12/15/08
Mellon Arena
Pittsburgh, PA
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- We head right into our opening animation this week and then head inside the Mellon Arena as we are in the best city in America to stick an enema hose: Pittsburgh, PA! Michael Cole welcomes us as we are just 24 hours removed from Armageddon. Jeff Hardy finally grabbed the big gold when he won the WWE Championship and Shawn Michaels told us he was broke and will work for JBL. The King also tells us that Miz & Morrison defeated Punk & Kofi at a house show this weekend and they will have a rematch tonight.

1) Kelly & Melina vs. Beth Phoenix & Jillian Hall

Kelly comes bouncing down the aisle for our opening tag and she is soon joined by Melina for some Diva tag action. Santino, Beth and Jillian all head out next and they have “Slamantha” with them. She is Beth’s Slammy. Glamarella stop at ringside to take a picture with a Beth superfan. Well, Santino snaps the picture for them as Beth makes her day. Kelly and Jillian start off and Jillian starts working the arm. Kelly handsprings out of it and she grabs a side headlock. She then takes Jillian over with her airplane headscissor spin. Kelly hits the ropes but Beth yanks her down by the hair and Jillian gets a near fall. Jillian works over Kelly in the ropes and then lands some kneelifts. She goes for a backbreaker but Kelly flips out of it. Jillian knocks Melina off the apron to prevent a tag but Kelly rolls Jillian up and gets the pin.

- Jillian attacks Kelly after the bell and she and Phoenix beat her up a bit…but we are joined by Kane! Santino orders the ladies to the floor as Kane steps in the ring and glares down at them. Kelly looks up in horror as Kane is stalking over her. He squats down and stares at her and then offers his hand to help her to her feet. The crowd cheers but Kelly doesn’t accept this gesture and rolls to the floor. She quickly backpedals up the ramp and Kane stalks after her in hot pursuit. They disappear behind the curtain as we go to break. Kelly & Melina d. Phoenix & Jillian when Kelly pins Jillian with a roll up; Grade: 1

- We are back to frigid Pittsburgh and take a look back at the Kane/Kelly showdown from last segment. During the break, Kelly quickly walked backstage and Kane was in hot pursuit. They both passed Jamie Noble, with Kane knocking him to the ground. When Kane caught up to Kelly he told her they need to talk and that was it. We head back to the arena as we are set for our next match.

2) Rey Mysterio vs. Sim Snuka

As Rey heads to the ring, Cody Rhodes and Manu settle into chairs at ringside to watch this bout. His opponent is Deuce and he has a mic. He says from now on, he wants to be called by his real name: Sim Snuka, son of Jimmy Snuka. Snuka takes Rey down immediately but Rey battles back with some kicks. Snuka lands a knee and then puts Rey down with a spinning slam for two. He pulls Rey up and whips him hard into the corner. He drops a knee on Rey’s back and grabs a reverse chinlock. Snuka tries for a charging kneedrop, but Rey dodges it. He ducks a clothesline and lands some right hands. He takes Snuka over with a headscissors but Snuka drops him with a flapjack on a charge. Snuka lands a leaping kneelift for two. Rey tries for a huracarrana but Snuka catches him. Rey slips free and Snuka falls into the middle rope. Rey lines up the 619 but Snuka bails to the floor. Rey hits a seated senton off the apron. As he pops up, Cody shoves him and Rey comes back at him. Manu knees him down and Rey quickly escapes. He is standing in the aisle but gets clubbed from behind hard by Mike Knox. Knox drops him with the STO. Knox stands tall over Rey as we go to break. Mysterio d. Snuka by disqualification when Cody Rhodes interferes; Grade: 2

- The 2008 Tribute to the Troops special airs this Saturday at 9:00PM on NBC. We cut backstage where Triple H and Shawn Michaels are shilling more merchandise for Christmas with their awesome DX-Mas remix theme in the background. They shill a sweatshirt, t-shirt and a Triple H teddy bear. Shawn says it is from the “Conan the Bar-bear-ian” collection. Hunter then shows off Shawn’s bear and says it is the “Village People bear” and it has a button in the back that makes all the hair fall out. Back at ringside, King says the DX piece was filmed weeks ago before we found out Michaels was broke and now forced to work for JBL. Backstage, Kane forces Kelly to have a seat in a dark room. Kane thinks Kelly was trying to tell him something last week when she said “love is a wonderful thing”. Kelly says she was just presenting an award. Kane said she better not have been leading him on because he has been hurt and taken advantage of before. He tells her she can leave right now if she is just leading him on. He opens the door and screams at her to go. She is too scared to move, so he shuts the door and says that he knew she felt something. He stares at her as we cut to the Grish. He brings in Randy Orton who says he challenged Batista to a rematch here tonight. He hasn’t gotten a reply yet and says that Batista is a coward. Well, the Animal is in the house and he walks in. He tells Orton he has his answer but Orton smacks him and takes off. Batista follows and they end up on the ramp. Cody and Manu were camped out there, though, and jump Batista. The three men work over Batista until John Cena makes the save. Orton backs up the ramp and stares at Cena. Cena wants to fight and he smirks at Orton as we fade to break.

- We are back and Batista is thanking Cena for the save. Cena says he promised himself he would get back at Orton. Batista says now that Cena is done with Jericho, he wants to talk about the title rematch he never got. The Grish interrupts and says Steph made a match for later as Orton, Rhodes and Manu will be facing Cena and Batista. Batista says they will continue that talk later as we go to break. We head to the ring, where Jim Duggan is stomping around, ready to fight. Jericho’s music hits and he comes walking out, but he has his suit on. Duggan looks perplexed as Jericho climbs in the ring and stares at Hacksaw. Jericho says he is refusing to wrestle tonight. He is the 2008 Superstar of the Year and he has been carrying Raw on his back for the past twelve months and it is a slap in the face to have to compete against somebody like Duggan. Duggan looks sad and hangs his head. Jericho asks “If LeBron James were to miss a game winning shot, would he bee banished to the end of the bench?” The answer is no and Jericho is the best in the world and he won’t lower himself to face a bottom of the barrel talent like Duggan. It is an insult, a travesty and it demeans him. He won’t step into the ring until he gets a title match or a performer worthy of his caliber, the Superstar of the Year. Jericho smugly walks off as Duggan stands dejectedly in the ring. Backstage, Kelly and Kane are still in the room. She says she doesn’t want to get to know Kane better. Kane asks if there is someone else and yells at her to tell who it is. She will tell Kane who it is, whether she wants to or not. Kane glares at her and we go to break.

- When we return, Kane tells Kelly she did the right thing by telling him and he says he has to go now. As he leaves, Kelly begs him not to hurt “him”. Kane laughs and says “like you said, love is a wonderful thing” and walks off. Back to the ring, Lillian Garcia brings out William Regal and Layla. They head to the top of the ramp and Regal has a seat on his throne to check out the number one contender to his title in action.

3) CM Punk & Kofi Kingston vs. Miz & John Morrison for the World Tag Team Championship

Punk comes charging out first as we get stills of his match with Rey last night. Kofi is out next and now we get stills of Miz & Morrison’s title win on Saturday night in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Miz and Morrison come out next, belts and Slammys in tow. Kofi and Miz start off with a lockup and Kofi grabs a side headlock. Miz kicks Kofi off the break and grabs a headlock of his own. He grinds it and then spikes Kofi back to the mat by his hair. Kofi leapfrogs Miz and hits a back elbow for two. He works the arm and then tags in Punk, who comes in with a slingshot somersault senton for two. Punk hits a spinning heel kick for two as we see Regal and Layla looking on. Kofi tags in and kicks Miz in the face as Punk whipped him towards Kofi in the corner. Kofi nails a flying forearm for two. He tags Punk back in and he whips Miz to the corner. Punk catches Miz’ boot as he charges, but Miz slips loose and slaps Punk in the face. Miz bails to the floor and Punk chases him. Morrison hooks Punk’s leg as he slides back in, but Punk shoves him into the barricade. Miz charges, but Punk nails him with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Miz bails to the floor to recover, but Kofi backdrops Punk over the top rope onto both of them. Punk stands tall over them both as we go to break. When we return, Morrison has Kofi in a reverse chinlock. Kingston is able to tag in Punk, who goes to work on Miz and gets a near fall with a roll up. He shoots Miz to the corner but Miz backdrops him to the apron as he charges. He heads up top, but Miz is able to slam him off after a brief Morrison distraction. Miz gets a near fall and then tags in Morrison. Miz slingshots Punk into Morrison, who lands a forearm and he then slingshots into the ring with an elbowdrop for a two count. Morrison kicks away at Punk and goes to a body scissors as the crowd rallies Punk. Morrison hoists Punk on his shoulders and Miz heads up top. Punk is able to climb of Morrison and onto the top. He kicks Morrison away and then hit s huge superplex on Miz. Miz tags in Morrison as Punk tags Kofi. Kofi comes off the top with a high cross body and then hits a nice dropkick. Kofi is on fire and nails the Boom Legdrop for two. Morrison shoves Kofi off but Kofi hits a somersault Russian leg sweep into a pin combo that I could never describe fully. Miz gets tossed to the floor and Punk dives out after him. Kofi gets another roll up for two. Kofi leaps up top but misses a cross body. Morrison hits the leaping Enziguri to the face but Punk makes the save just before the three. Miz heads in and shoves Punk outside and Kofi shoves Miz out after him. Kofi turns and walks into the Moonlight Drive and Morrison picks up the win. Miz & Morrison d. Kingston & Punk to retain the WWF World Tag Team Championship when Morrison pins Kingston with the Moonlight Drive; Grade: 3

- As Miz and Morrison celebrate, Kane’s music hits and he stomps down to the ring. Kane stares at all four men and then he grabs Miz by throat and plants him with a chokeslam. He pulls Miz to his feet and crushes him with a Tombstone. So, either Kelly is dating Miz or Kelly set the Miz up. Kane stands in the middle of the ring as we go to commercial.

- We are back and checking out downtown Pittsburgh. Back inside, some of the Steelers are in the front row checking out the action. And with that, the stock market bell sounds and JBL comes out to the top of the ramp. He invites us to watch the comments made by his newest employee last night. We then cut to video of Shawn’s great promo from last night, where he revealed he was broke and was taking JBL’s offer. Back live, JBL is smirking as the crowd showers him with jeers. Backstage, Candice and Mickie catch up with Kelly and make sure she is OK. Mickie asks Kelly why she didn’t tell them about Miz. Kelly asks them if they are serious and then storms off angrily.

- The Subway Slam of the Week takes us back to Dolph Ziggler’s count out win over R-Truth last week.

4) Dolph Ziggler vs. Santa Claas

Back in the ring, Lillian introduces Dolph and then he introduces himself as well. His opponent is Santa Claas and he hands out gifts on his way to the ring. Santa hands Dolph a gift but he tosses it away and says he came here to wrestle. Cole says he deserves coal for Christmas, but King says “nobody deserves Cole”. Claas works Ziggler over in the corner, but Ziggler lands a dropkick and then hammers away at Claas on the mat. I love Ziggler’s taunting during the matches. He drops some elbows and gets a near fall before going to a nice reverse chinlock. Claas elbows out but Dolph puts him back down. He stomps away at Claas and keeps berating him while he does it. He chokes Claas in the ropes and then goes back to the chinlock. Ziggler really wrenches it in and Claas is in some serious pain here. Ziggler releases and clubs Claas in the back of the head but misses a big elbowdrop. Claas ducks a clothesline and lands some rights and a dropkick. He hits a spear into the corner and then shoots Ziggler across. He misses a charge and Ziggler snaps him down with the inverted DDT for the win. Ziggler strips Claas and assault him a bit more after the match. Ziggler d. Claas with the inverted DDT; Grade: 2

- After that match we get another video package for Behind Enemy Lines Columbia, starring Mr. Kennedy. After that Cole talks about Jeff Hardy’s big win and we see the front page of WWE.com. This Friday, Jeff Hardy will make his first appearance as WWE Champion on Smackdown. With that, we head to break.

- Backstage, Duggan is sulking when Cryme Tyme come up to him. Shad tells him it is time and that they got him and they walk off. Elsewhere, Jericho is with Stephanie. She wants an explanation on earlier, if she tells him to wrestle, she expects him to do it. Jericho tells her to show him some respect. She is his boss, but Jericho doesn’t think she is doing a good job. He tells Steph that Batista’s rematch clause expired after thirty days and he has no claim to the belt. Steph is aware and says that next week, eight former champions will be in action. The next week, the four winners will face off in a fatal four way and the winner of that will then go on to face John Cena. She tells Jericho to do what she tells him and not make a scene in the ring. If he doesn’t, she will never give him a match worthy of making him Superstar of the Year ever again. Jericho walks off as Steph stares. We cut to Manu and Cody talking about the failed plan from earlier and Orton joins them. He says last night was an embarrassment and they messed up again tonight. They need to be 100% successful in everything they do or the Legacy group is over.

5) Batista & John Cena vs. Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes & Manu in a Handicap Match

Back in the arena, Batista makes his way out and we head to commercial. When we return, John Cena makes his way out to a pretty good pop. The Legacy is out next and Orton’s eyes are fixated directly on Batista. Manu and Batista start things off with a lockup and a stalemate with a clean break. We get another lockup and Manu lands a shot and a headbutt off of it. Batista reverses a whip and lands a back elbow. He backs Manu into the corner and hits some elbows before tagging in Cena, who enters to a mixed reaction. He hammers away at Manu and then slams him for two. Manu tags in Cody and he grabs a side headlock. The crowd is chanting for Cena now. Cena shoots Cody in but Cody puts him down with a shoulderblock. Cena takes Cody over with a side headlock. Cody lands a boot off the break but Cena tosses Cody over with a suplex and gets two. Cena shoves Cody to the corner and tags Batista. He shoots Cody in and hits a leaping shoulderblock. He drags Cody up and takes him over with a delayed vertical suplex for a near fall. Batista tags in Cena and he rams Cody to the buckle. Cena hits the ropes and puts Cody down with a running bulldog for two. Cena tags in Batista and he works the arm as Orton looks on angrily. Batista shoots Cody to the corner and drills him with a clothesline. Cody catches him with a back elbow on a charge and then stomps away. Cody tags in Orton but he gets caught with a clothesline right off the bat. Batista lands another one in the corner and then mares Orton over. Batista kicks him in the face and then drags him to his feet. Batista misses a charge in the corner and Orton knocks him down from behind. Orton stomps away at the midsection as we check out for our last break. When we return, a crazed Orton is choking Batista with his boot. He tags in Cody and they trade off boots in the corner. Cody keeps up with the boots and then he tags Manu. Batista fires back at Mau and he knocks everyone down in the corner. Manu puts Batista back down with a clothesline and tags in Orton. Randy works the Garvin Stomp and finishes with a kneedrop for a near fall. He tags in Manu, who lands a boot to the chest. He pulls Batista up to his feet but lands a thrust and gets a near fall. Manu tags Cody who buries a right to the gut. Cody tags Orton back in and he goes to the chinlock. Batista breaks it with a back suplex and is able to tag Cena. He hits a shoulderblock and takes Manu over with his back suplex. Cena drops the Five Knuckle Shuffle and hoists him up for the FU. Cody interferes with a dropkick and Manu falls right on Cena’s surgically repaired neck. Manu tags Cody and he is all over Cena. Cody tags Orton back in and he keeps on the attack. Orton drapes Cena out off the ropes and crushes him with the DDT for two as Batista made the save. Orton tags in Manu who keeps on the neck. He tags Cody who comes off the top with an axehandle. Cena shoots Punk in but misses the charge. Cody heads up top and hits a nice moonsault press for two. Cody keeps hammering away at Cena and gets a near fall off a kneedrop. Cody puts Cena down with another clothesline. Cena avoids a Cody kneedrop and tags in Batista. He takes out Manu and Orton and puts Cody down with a spinebuster. Orton uses Manu as a battering ram, taking out Batista as he loaded up the Batistabomb. Orton takes advantage and drops Batista with the RKO. Orton starts screaming at Manu and Rhodes to assault Cena on the floor and they comply. Orton is going nuts yelling and the ref calls for the bell due to the double team on the floor. Orton turns around, lines up and punts Batista’s head, knocking him out. Cena slides back in to protect him as the Legacy bails to the floor. Orton stares at the ring emotionless as we fade out. Batista & Cena d. Orton, Rhodes & Manu by disqualification; Grade: 3.5

Final Analysis

The opening Diva tag got the crowd into things off the bat as they had good energy and kept it short. We also got some angle progression in that brief segment as Beth finally acknowledged her superfan and Kane seemingly has a crush of Kelly. We continued to get more storyline development as Deuce officially revealed his heritage and he was seemingly inducted into the Legacy. He looked good in the match too so this identity change may revitalize him a bit here. The Kane/Kelly angle progressed a bit more and seems as if we will have another Kane romance angle over the coming weeks. Chris Jericho brought the good again with another killer promo that actually made me feel bad for Duggan. He is just permanent aces at this point and nobody, except maybe Edge, comes even close to his work week in and week out. The tag title match was the usual good affair for those four as they continue to deliver in the ring and work the crowd wonderfully. The Kane attack was interesting and I was wondering if Miz will be revealed to have been dating Kelly or if she lied to Kane and set Miz up. Either way it was a decent little story arc throughout the show and Kelly confirmed for us that she just set Miz up as she hastily got dressed and left. I was hoping for more advancement of the JBL/Michaels angle but I guess they just wanted to show last night’s promo to catch everyone up on the story. Dolph Ziggler continues to impress in the ring with energy and smack talking. I think he will get over as a nice mid card heel if they push him right. The main event was really good as both teams work well together. Cena got his usual mixed reaction, but I think it was tilted more towards cheers this week. I liked the double heat segment and the crowd stayed with them both times. I liked the finish too with the crazed Orton directing traffic and then crushing Batista with the kick. The crowd was pretty hot all night and the show overall kept a good pace and never slowed down. I liked all the storyline developments, including the show long Kelly/Kane angle that progressed throughout the night instead of being just a quick segment. The tag title match and main event were the matches of the night but all of the other matches were solid as well. This show was solid, nothing great but nothing bad and was a nice building block as we start paving the Road to the Wrestlemania. Final Grade: B+

MVP: The Legacy
Runner Up: Miz & John Morrison
Non MVP: Rey Mysterio
Runner Up: CM Punk & Kofi Kingston

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