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WWE RAW 1/14/2008

Written by: Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 1/14/08
Mobile Civic Center
Mobile, AL
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

– We open with a recap of last week’s great cage main event between Jeff Hardy and Umaga which helped add fuel to the fire regarding the Orton/Hardy match. And with that we head right inside the arena where we are live and joined by the Intercontinental champion and #1 contender for the WWE Championship, Jeff Hardy. Lawler and JR heap more praise on the cage match last week and pump up the Rumble match. Jeff is welcomed to a loud and lengthy “Hardy” chant and he says he is excited as in less than two weeks he has a chance to become WWE Champion. He is thrilled, but also angry because he said last week that he would take Orton out and he didn’t get a chance. But tonight, he will make it happen and he calls Orton out right off the bat. He stares at the Titantron for a moment and after a few beats, Randy Orton makes his way out. He tells Hardy that if he wants him that badly, he’s got it. However, there is one condition: he reminds Jeff that only two men in WWE history have held both the WWE and I-C titles at the same time, and he wants to be the third. He proposes that they put the I-C belt on the line right here tonight and Jeff accepts without hesitation. He says he is happy because he would have had nothing to do between now and the Rumble as Jeff is out of brothers to kick in the head. Jeff says he will take the title at the Rumble and take Orton out tonight. The two stare each other down as JR sends us to video from 6 weeks ago when Flair receives the career threatening edict from Mr. McMahon. Flair will take on William Regal here tonight with Flair’s career on the line.

1) Melina, Jillian Hall & Beth Phoenix defeat Ashley Massaro, Maria & Mickie James when Beth pins Mickie with a Fisherman’s Suplex

Ashley went to China and came back looking like a completely different person. Her teammate, however, looks as gorgeous as ever as she brings us a taste of good medicine. And her other teammate tops the list too, as Mickie James skips down to the ring looking as smoking hot as ever. As Mickie hits the corners, JR sends us to break. When we return, Melina is strutting her way to the ring for our six Diva tag match. Jillian rocks her way out to her own theme music and then the Glamazon makes her way out last. Jillian and Ashley start off and Jillian has control early as she tosses Ashley around. Jillian catches a boot to the gut and Ashley hits a cross body for 1. Jillian tags in Melina and Ashley is able to tag Maria. Maria does a wonderful handstand kick, but Melina is able to trip her into the middle rope and choke away at her. Beth tags in and lands a stiff kick to Maria’s stomach. Phoenix hits a sidewalk slam for 1 as JR pumps up how unbeatable she is. Maria tags in Mickie and she hits a headscissors takedown and then runs over and takes Jillian and Melina out too. She heads up top and hits a Thesz Press on Beth, but Beth rebounds with a back elbow. James hits an Enziguri for 2 and all hell breaks loose as all six Divas hit the ring. Mickie hits a low spin kick and another boot to the face, but Beth hits a stun gun on a charge and then polishes Mickie off with a Fisherman’s Suplex. The dominant Glamazon train continues to roll on as we take a look at the reply of the finish. Grade: 1.5

– We cut backstage where Mr. McMahon is pumping up the GM. He says he will do what Orton, Umaga and Triple H couldn’t do: end Ric Flair’s career in the most undignified way possible. Vince gives Regal a gift: an enema and then rips off the old Bret Hart line about where America would stick the hose if it gave itself an enema, only this time it is Mobile, AL and not Pittsburgh, PA. Vince says we are lucky this show isn’t in HD because there aren’t the best looking people in Mobile. Snitsky appears and says he has been waiting patiently and wants to make an impact, so Vince books him against Triple H here tonight. He tells Regal to take the enema with him and wishes him good luck as we go to break.

– We return from commercial as JR takes us back to the fantastic end of last year’s Royal Rumble.

2) Shawn Michaels defeats Trevor Murdoch by submission with an inverted figure four in a Royal Rumble Qualifying match

HBK makes his way out to a huge ovation as always, but is in a must win match here tonight. Shawn grabs the mike and doesn’t understand why exactly he has to be in a qualifying match, as he was the runner up last year and is a two time winner. He says it’s unfair but he understands the rules, and says he wouldn’t want to be someone who usurps the authority of WWE. He said he wants to challenge Kennedy here tonight to qualify for the Rumble, but instead of Kennedy it looks like he will have to deal with Trevor Murdoch. The bell rings and we are off as we get a lockup and an “HBK” chant to start. Murdoch lands some stiff elbows and fists and follows with an inverted atomic drop right off the bat. He follows up with some crossface shots and gets a two after an Irish whip to the turnbuckle. Murdoch is starting to look pretty svelte here. He locks in a head vice, but the crowd rallies Michaels to his feet. Shawn breaks the hold and hits his chops and then lands a Thesz Press and slugs away at Murdoch. He hits the Flying Forearm and kips up and hits an inverted atomic drop. Michaels scoop slams Trevor and heads up top and comes back down with the big elbow drop. Michaels tunes up the band, but Murdoch drops to his back to avoid the move, and Shawn locks in an inverted figure four to get the submission win and qualify for the Rumble. As Michaels celebrates, Mr. Kennedy appears on the Titantron. He said he has always heard how big Michaels ego is and how he can’t let things go. He says Shawn can’t handle the fact that Kennedy beat him and left him lying. He tells him it is natural that he passed him by and proved that he is better than Michaels. Kennedy says, even though he has nothing left to prove to Michaels, he will accept his challenge for next week. He says he needs a warm up match for the Rumble so he will give Michaels his last great moment in the business as he steps in the ring with the present and future of sports entertainment. Murdoch charges Michaels, but Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music and celebrates his win. That was a great promo by Kennedy as he brought the intensity big time. Grade: 1.5

– We look back at two weeks ago when Ric Flair took Randy Orton to the limit to keep his career alive and then we head off to commercial.

– As we come back from break, we flash back to April 1, 1990 and get a video package on the Ultimate Challenge, when Ultimate Warrior unified the World and I-C titles. That was a nice touch to help tonight’s match seem even more important and I like when they use old footage to pump up current matches like that. JR and King run down the Rumble card and also thank Airbourne for the official Royal Rumble theme song: Stand Up for Rock ‘n Roll. We then cut backstage where Vince is with his little son. He tells Hornswoggle that he is proud of him being in the Rumble, but is also very concerned for him. He wants to give Hornswoggle some experience so he puts him in a mini Royal Rumble match here tonight. Little Mac will start off and Mr. Kennedy will be number 2, Mankind will be number 3, Batista will be 4 and we will also have a surprise entrant or two. Vince says Hornswoggle winning probably won’t happen to which he agrees, but Vince then grabs him by the throat and says since his last name is McMahon, anything can happen. He says that he is proud of him again and then we cut to Triple H walking backstage as we head to break.

– We get our WWE Rewind, which recaps the Flair/Triple H match from New Year’s Eve and then JR and King pump up the Regal/Flair match and the mini-Rumble match for later tonight.

3) Snitsky defeats Triple H by disqualification after Triple H hit him with a chair

Hunter comes out to a sizeable pop from the hot Mobile crowd as he is ready to attempt to vanquish Snitsky here tonight. Snitsky heads out second and is looking as pasty and nasty as ever. Lawler is afraid of Snitsky in HD, as I am sure many people are. We get a lockup to start and Hunter ducks a right and lands some shits of his own. Snitsky isn’t fazed and he gain control as he slugs away at Hunter. He shoots him into the corner but Hunter bounces out with a big clothesline. Snitsky hits a shoulderblock, but Hunter ducks his charge and he crashes to the floor as we head to break. We return and Hunter has an armbar on Snitsky, but he breaks out and kicks Triple H in the face. Snitsky stomps away at Hunter in the corner and then buries his shoulder to the Game’s stomach a few times. He whips him to the opposite corner and Hunter crumbles in pain. Snitsky lands a sidewalk slam for 2 as he has taken over this match. He scoop slams Hunter and drops and pair of elbows for another 2. Hunter fires back with some right hands to the gut, but Snitsky catches him in a bear hug off a charge. Hunter tries to break the hold with some elbows, but Snitsky wrenches in the hold to maintain control. Triple H battles to his feet and punches his way out of the hold and is able to slip out of the Pumphandle slam and hit a DDT. Both men get up and Hunter hits his facebuster and follows with a Spinebuster. He goes for the Pedigree, but is too close to the ropes and Snitsky backdrops him to the floor. He follows him out and sends him careening into the steel steps. He lifts the steps and tries to drop them on Hunter, but he moves in time. Triple H grabs a chair and pasts Snitsky with it to draw the DQ. He grabs the sledgehammer to a big pop and buries it in Snitsky’s gut and then plants him with the Pedigree. So sue me, I enjoyed that as it was a fun little TV power match. Snitsky’s basic offense worked well because Hunter sold nicely for him. I liked the ending too as I figured it would end with the Pedigree. Sometimes a basic and well worked match hits the spot. Grade: 2.5

– As Triple H saunters up the ramp, Mr. McMahon appears on the mini Titantron. He says that Hunter becomes angrier each week because he isn’t in the Rumble match. He advises him to calm down and take a chill pill, but Hunter does just the opposite, as he destroys the mini-screen at the top of the ramp with his sledgehammer. He celebrates the damage and we head off to commercial.

– We return and look at the destroyed Titantron and then get a repay of Hunter destroying it before the break. I guess that kind of makes sense considering Raw is supposed to have a new set next week. We cut backstage and Vince asks Hunter what else he is going to do, so he puts him back in the Rumble match because he doesn’t feel like he can trust him. He says he isn’t doing it out of intimidation, and adds that next week Hunter will actually have to win his match next week to gain entrance to the Rumble. We head back inside the arena where we are joined by JBL, who rides out in his limo and is accompanied by his beautiful theme music. We get another balloon shower to celebrate JBL’s entrance, but he looks like he is all business this week. Lawler wants JR to spring for an entrance like this for them one week, but says that JR is too cheap. The balloons continue to rain down and they are just completely covering the ring at this point, which is a neat visual. The continuous sound of the audience popping all the balloons is pretty funny too. JBL says that we had a four month campaign talking about a savior. He says that Chris Jericho stuck his neck out to save us, and then asks him how his neck is doing after having a rough week last Monday. We then cut to a video recap of JBL’s assault and lynching of Jericho. JBL says Jericho is at home where he should have stayed all along. He says he loves power and domination and that when he was dragging Jericho around the arena last week, he felt like he was dragging everyone in the audience as well. He tells Chris to move over because he wants to talk to his children instead. He tells his kids to look at Jericho and look at the marks on his neck that JBL caused. He tells them that Jericho now knows there are bigger and stronger people out there. He says their daddy is a coward, is gutless and is spineless and had all the fight taken out of him. He asks Jericho to look at his kids and tell them that JBL is better and that he has given up and is a coward. JBL says if Jericho shows up at the Royal Rumble, then the savior will need to be saved from him. We get a fireworks display as JBL stands proud in the center of the ring, and man can he ever deliver a promo. JR tells us that Jericho suffered a bruised larynx thanks to JBL, who is still celebrating amidst the pyro. The raising of the arm and the pyro goes on for a few more minutes as JBL heads up the ramp and to the back and we head to break.

– When we return, we take a look back at No Mercy 2002, which featured the other instance of Heavyweight/I-C title unification when Triple H defeated Kane to combine the championships.

4) Hornswoggle wins the mini Royal Rumble match
Eliminations

Hornswoggle eliminates Mankind
Hornswoggle eliminates Mr. Kennedy
Hornswoggle eliminates Batista
Hornswoggle eliminates Kane
Hornswoggle eliminates Great Khali

The smoke from JBL’s pyro is totally engulfing the arena at this point. Hornswoggle McMahon is out first and he doesn’t look too confident as he enters the ring for the mini Rumble. Mr. Kennedy is out next and it is not the real Mr. Kennedy, but instead we get a midget look-a-like. The LP is actually doing a pretty good impersonation, but he is pretty ugly. The lights fade, and the mike lowers, but Little Kennedy can’t reach it to do the intro. The bell rings and we get a little action between the two combatants. Kennedy-cito hits a nice drop toehold, sending Little Mac into the turnbuckle, but he runs short on time as the clock ticks down and Mini Mankind heads out to the ring. Kennedy stomps away, but Mini Mankind bounces back and takes Little Mac out with a clothesline and then pulls out Mr. Socko. Hornswoggle blocks the hold and is able to put the Socko claw on Mankind instead and then tosses him to the floor. Hornswoggle shows off his strength by press slamming Kennedy out to the floor. Batista is out next and the LP playing him is awfully porky, but he even does the whole pyro entrance which is pretty damn funny. Batista-lite hits the spear and shakes the ropes. He goes for the Batista Bomb, but Hornswoggle back body drops him instead. Time ticks down again and we get a mini Kane as the next entrance. King said it looks like one of Kane’s action figures. It is funny seeing these guys hit all the signature moves as Batista-lite his a nice Batista Bomb on Mini Kane. Hornswoggle attacks Batista from behind and tosses him to the floor. Kane sits up and lands a couple of uppercuts and a clothesline. He heads to the second rope and hits another clothesline and then sets up for the Chokeslam. Little Mac blocks it and elbows out and then hits the Celtic Cross and tosses Kane as the clock ticks down again. The buzzer goes off and we get the real Great Khali as our final entrant. Batista-lite jumps Hornswoggle from behind and takes him out as Khali heads to the ring. Before Khali can do any damage, Finlay hits the ring and beats the piss out of Khali with the shillelagh. Runjin tries to grab the shillelagh, but Finlay stops him and cracks him as well. Khali heads to the back as Finlay tosses Singh out of the ring and celebrates with his little friend. Batista-lite was fantastic and they should sign him to be Hornswoggle’s foil. That was a fun little time killer that provided some cute little moments and the “mini Rumble” line by Vince just hit me. Grade: 2.5

– We return and head backstage where Vince and Finlay are face to face arguing over Hornswoggle. Finlay references a “deal” and Vince tells him never to mention that again. He books Finlay vs. Khali for Smackdown and Finlay tells him he better not go back on their deal, and Vince says he won’t. It is looking like Vince & Khali vs. Finlay & Hornswoggle at Wrestlemania more and more each week.

5) Ric Flair defeats William Regal with a roll-up in a career threatening match

Flair heads out first, followed by Regal, who is now using his evil 2002 theme music again. Regal reads the riot act to the ref as we head to break. We return and Regal is working over Flair’s leg as he tries to retire Flair. Regal stomps away at Flair, but Ric slides outside and drags Regal with him. He starts working on William’s leg, wrapping it around the post. Flair heads back inside and hits a chop block and shinbreaker. Flair keeps hold of the leg and locks in the Figure Four, but Regal reaches the ropes for the break. Regal gets a roll up for 2, but gets into an argument when the ref breaks the hold because he was grabbing the tights. Flair grabs Regal from behind and rolls him up, uses the tights as well and picks up the quick win to keep his career alive. That could have been a great match, but they were running way long at this point and had to keep it brief. Flair heads back and Regal yells at the ref as we head to our last break. Grade: 1.5

6) Jeff Hardy defeats Randy Orton by disqualification to retain the Intercontinental Championship after a low blow

Randy Orton is out first, but we are running long at this point, so I can’t imagine this match being too long. That may actually be a good thing, though, since we will be seeing it again in two weeks. Hardy gets in the ring, the bell rings, but Orton hits a huge low blow kick right off the bat to draw the DQ. Orton grabs the mike and says the show is not over and tells us we won’t want to miss what is about to happen. Orton throws Hardy to the floor and then pulls the mats off the concrete. Orton drags him up and sets up the RKO, but Jeff battles out of the hold and they brawl up the ramp. Orton rams Jeff into the Raw set, which leaves Jeff struggling to his knees at the edge of the ramp. Orton lines up the Career Killer kick and charges, but Jeff jumps up and back drops Orton off the metal stage and through a staging area on the floor. Jeff eyes a Swanton from the ramp, but decides against it. He climbs down to the floor, looks around and then heads up the giant lighting rig, and the crowd is buzzing big time in anticipation as Jeff climbs even higher. He looks to the crowd and then hits a super sick Swanton Bomb that may have killed both men. Holy SHIT! That was a moment that we will watch over and over for years to come. It was just insane to watch him jump from that high. The EMTs are out and helping load both men onto stretchers. JR and Lawler have been silent since the jump, which helps add to the drama as we see a few different replays of the dive. Hardy raises his hand as he is carted out and gets a huge ovation as we fade out for the night. Grade: 5

Final Analysis

We had a solid show this week as it had a lot of tight booking and Royal Rumble build up for all the big matches. I liked the opening promo and the build to the potential Title unification throughout the night. The build up and Orton’s desire to own double gold helped add some credibility back to the I-C title as well, making it more than just a prop for Hardy. The Divas match helped keep Beth Phoenix looking strong and they are actually doing a really good job raising the respectability of the Women’s title a bit. Hopefully they book her first loss correctly so it gets a huge pop. Kennedy gave a great promo, but I am hoping the feud with Michaels winds down next week or at the Rumble as it is starting to drag a bit. It has helped Kennedy gain some momentum, but he needs to win the feud and move on to a new program. I continue to enjoy Hunter in the midcard and I wish he would stay there a bit longer as he just adds a different dynamic to the show when he battles and feuds with guys like Snitsky. It will be interesting to see who Hunter battles next week to gain entry to the Rumble. JBL delivered another killer promo and helped build the anticipation for the Rumble match even more. The mini Rumble was pretty funny, mainly due to the LPs, who did a great job playing the various wrestlers. I wish Flair/Regal could have been longer, but maybe we will get a rematch one day. The main event segment was fantastic as Jeff continues to risk his life for our enjoyment. That jump was just sick and will go down as one of those classic WWE moments. Their match at the Rumble is just so full of heat right now, it is ready to burst. The only thing we were missing was that one great anchor match, but that is a minor quibble on a show with so much development. The crowd was red hot pretty much all night, and that always helps keep a show interesting. The Royal Rumble has been built up so well as each match has meaning and heat behind it and also has a fresh feel to it as well. Final Grade: B

MVP: Jeff Hardy
Runner Up: The Minis
Non MVP: William Regal
Runner Up: Mickie James

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