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WWE RAW 1/28/2008

Written by: Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 1/28/08
Wachovia Center
Philadelphia, PA
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

– We kick off this week’s show with a video recap of last night’s Royal Rumble match, focusing on all the major moments, including the shocking return of John Cena. We then head right inside the arena as the 2008 Rumble winner, himself, John Cena kicks off the show to his usual overwhelmingly loud and partisan reaction. Cena says he loves Philly because they are loud and rowdy no matter how they feel. The reaction is boisterous and split as Cena awaits a chance to speak. Cena says he is here to answer the question of how this was possible. We get a huge “Cena Sucks” chant as he recaps his injury from October. He says the chant is music to his ears and then continues by saying the doctors had told him he would miss 12 months and miss Wrestlemania for the first time in his career. I guess he was at XIX, but he didn’t wrestle. He says a new champion was crowned and new contenders were named, but his life was crumbling in the hospital as his dreams were fading. He said he made a choice at the last minute as he risked his life and career for a chance to go to Wrestlemania. The crowd is just all over him here. He says it may have been luck, skill or both, but the impossible has happened as he is back, the winner of the 21st winner of the Royal Rumble and he is going to Wrestlemania. He says lets do Wrestlemania right here tonight, as there is a man backstage he wants to challenge here tonight. He says Philly is full of surprises, so let’s have one more with John Cena vs. Randy Orton, and with that challenge the crowd erupts. Cena calls out Orton and the Champ obliges and emerges from backstage. Orton says he has an answer, but it won’t be one Cena wants to hear. He has been issued all types of challenges and mentions Triple H, Michaels, Jericho and Hardy. The crowd is all over Orton now too as they break out a “You Suck” chant. Orton says he has beaten all challenges in the end, and Cena says that yes, the one man dynasty has beaten them all and that he was also the only person to take Cena out of commission. He tells Orton he is a smart champion who took advantage and that is why he will take the match tonight. Cena says Orton will take this match because he will look at Cena’s scar and think there is no way it could have healed by now. He says that Orton has never beaten him and doesn’t want to face him, but he knows in his heart he needs any advantage he could get, and here he has one. Cena asks Randy if he would rather wait eight weeks for Cena to heal up and kick his ass all over Disney Land in front of one of the biggest crowds ever. Orton says ever since he put Cena out he has become a very big deal, a bigger deal than Cena has ever been and that is why he will never defend his Championship unless the people open their wallets to see it. He is kind of wrong, as the people in the audience did pay, but I get his general point. Orton doesn’t think Cena is completely healed, so he accepts the challenge for No Way Out, unless Cena would rather wait until Wrestlemania. Cena says he doesn’t want to wait and they will get down at No Way Out. Cena says he doesn’t forget things like Orton taking his title and putting him out. He hasn’t been in a ring in four months and he wants some, so tonight, he will get some. With that, My Time kicks in and we have our No Way Out main event set up as we head to break.

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

We are back from break and set for some Diva tag action. Ashley looks so different it is just weird. Mickie is smiling this week, but JR reminds us of her rough outing last week and her reaction to it afterwards. JR tells us that Jillian’s Christmas album was a top seller in the US and UK and was a “download machine”. Lillian messes up and calls Beth the “Women’s Diva Champion” with the Owen Hart 94 Rumble inflection. JR plays it off as Lillian being nervous that Beth was coming out. Jillian and Mickie start things off and Mickie gets a low dropkick for an early near fall. Jillian tags in Beth and Mickie goes right at her. Beth misses a charge in the corner, but slides out of the way and Mickie hits the post on her charge attempt. Mickie recovers and catches a Beth boot, but Jillian kicks Mickie from behind and Phoenix hits her with a sidewalk slam. Jillian tags in and gets a handspring elbow for 2. She charges and eats an elbow and then Mickie hits a headscissors takedown. Beth tags back in and Mickie gets a near fall off a crucifix. Mickie hits a neckbreaker for 2. She goes for a DDT, but Jillian comes in. Mickie headscissors her out of the ring and then gets caught by Beth. Phoenix crushes her with the Fisherman’s Suplex to win once again. Lawler points out that Ashley was never tagged in as Mickie tried to do it all herself. That was a brief match, but the story of Mickie trying too hard was quite clear and it seems like she is heading to a heel turn. Grade: 1.5

– We cut backstage and Vince tells Regal to let Cena and Orton go at it at No Way Out, but he wonders who will go on to face the winner at Wrestlemania. Regal references a “barbaric, medieval” match they had discussed before and Vince says that is brilliant to have the winner of that match fight for the Championship at Wrestlemania.. He tells the GM to make the announcement and we are out to break.

– We are back and GM Regal heads out. He wastes no time in making the announcement that, at No Way Out, six contestants will compete for the Championship match at Wrestlemania inside the Elimination Chamber. He fumbles his words but plays it off as being excited. We take a look at a video putting over the violence of the Chamber. Regal runs down the rules and he stutters for a second time and the crowd gets all over him. The participants will be Umaga, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jeff Hardy and Triple H. Regal wishes them all luck and asks for God to have mercy on their souls. That was a great promo as it put over the Chamber as a huge event. We head over JR and King and JR introduces us to Mike Adamle. Adamle is in the crowd and runs down the card that is still to come tonight before we head to commercial.

– We are back and get the Just for Men Slam of the Week which highlights Ashley inquiring about Maria’s desire to do Playboy last night at the Rumble. Santino was awesome as usual and completely carried the segment.

2) Carlito defeats Cody Rhodes with the Backstabber

Carlito is out and is flanked by Santino and Maria. Cody is accompanied by his mentor and tag partner, Hardcore Holly. Cody had a good run last night, as he lasted over 23 minutes. Carlito spat in Cody’s face last night and Cody is looking for some payback. Carlito gets control early, but Cody hits an armdrag takedown and goes to a wristlock. He switches to an armbar, but Carlito slugs out of it and follows up with a chop. Rhodes turns him around and hits a chop of his own and then gets a roll up off a missed charge. Cody goes back to the armbar, but Carlito grabs the ropes. Cody takes Carlito back over and works the arm some more, even getting a 1 count in the midst of wearing him down. Cody fires away at Carlito and then is able to flip him out to the apron. Carlito swings, but Cody dodges and clotheslines him to the floor. Cody follows out and tosses Carlito back in. Santino hops on the apron and distracts Cody, which allows Carlito to hit the Backstabber for the quick win. I think Carlito and Cody could have a really good PPV match down the road, as this once was building nicely early on before the quick ending. Grade: 2

– Backstage we see Triple H and Shawn Michaels talking about last night and their chances at No Way Out. Hunter says they will have to beat the hell out of each other in the Chamber. He says the good thing is that won’t happen for three weeks, and tonight he needs a tag team partner. Michaels says he will need a wardrobe change, and Hunter says he is one step ahead, as he unzips his jacket and reveals a D-X t-shirt. Shawn says to give him a minute and he runs off. About 15 seconds later, he hops back in the picture decked out in D-X gear. They head off for their match and we go to break.

– We are back from break and take a behind the scenes look at the fourth annual Candice Michelle Go Daddy Super Bowl ad and then head into the arena as the crowd is jacked for D-X.

3) Shawn Michaels & Triple H defeat Umaga & Snitsky when Triple H pins Snitsky with a Pedigree

Michaels and Triple H are out and the crowd is rocking. These D-X reunions will definitely get more mileage if they happen every couple of months instead of being a regular thing. It will seem like more of a special treat for the live crowd that week and won’t get stale as quickly. Hunter has the mike and shows off the new D-X shirt and plays up to the Philly fans. He asks them if they are ready, and then say yes. He asks again, and, again, they seem to indeed be ready. So, for the thousands in attendance and the millions around the world, as well as one man in particular, committed gimmick infringement at the Rumble, Michael Buffer, who ripped D-X off he tells us to get ready to suck it. And Michaels lets us know that if we are not down with sucking it, Philly has two words for us: suck it. And with that, Umaga is out and is bedecked in new swank red tights. The Doctor of HD is out next and we are set for our big tag team battle as we enter hour two of Raw. Hunter and Snitsky kick things off as JR reminds us of Snitsky’s throwdown with Undertaker last night. Hunter grabs the mike and asks for a toothbrush, gum or mints and that gets a rise from the crowd as they start a “brush your teeth” chant. Maybe Kane can do a one night reprise of Isaac Yankem. Snitsky takes control, but Hunter nails him with a clothesline and tags in Michaels. Shawn works the arm and gets a quick tag back to Hunter, who continues to work the arm. Snitsky slams Hunter, but misses an elbow and he is able to tag in Shawn. Michaels takes Snitsky down and kips up. He heads up top, but Umaga nails him with a kick and sends him crashing to the floor from the top. Snitsky tosses him back in and locks him in a bear hug. Snitsky puts Shawn down and levels him with a big clothesline. He shoves him into the corner and works him over. The ref pushes Snitsky back, which allows Umaga to get some shots in from the apron. Snitsky tags Umaga in and he goes right into the nerve hold and then switches to a cool reverse bear hug and then turns that into a traditional bear hug. The crowd is trying to rally Shawn and we head to break. When we return, Michaels is tied up in the Tree of Woe and being worked over by Umaga. Jack Doan pulls Shawn out of the tree, but Umaga nails him with a big headbutt. Snitsky is tagged back in and locks on another bear hug, and the crowd busts into another loud “HBK” chant. Michaels is almost able to lean over and tag, but Snitsky drills him back into the buckle and tags Umaga in. Umaga charges for the running splash, but Michaels rolls out of the way and Umaga crashes and burns. Shawn leaps onto Umaga’s shoulder and reaches for the tag, but Umaga stands strong. Shawn shifts his weight and lands a DDT. Both men are slow to get up, but both make tags. Hunter fires away at Snitsky and is able to land a kneelift. He turns to Umaga and takes him down with a clothesline. He lands the facebuster on Snitsky but gets caught with the Samoan Drop. Michaels catches Umaga with Sweet Chin Music, sending him to the floor, and he follows with a Plancha. Snitsky lines Triple H up, but gets caught with a Spinebuster and Pedigree and eats the pin as D-X is victorious. D-X celebrates as JR reminds us that Michaels and Triple H will have to go at it in the Chamber. That was about as basic a formula as it gets, but formulas become formulas because they work, and the crowd was hot throughout. Also, as basic as Snitsky’s offense is, I have enjoyed it the past couple of weeks. Of course, he has been fighting world class bumpers and sellers, so that helps too, I am sure. Grade: 2.5

– We cut backstage where Orton and JBL are preparing for their tag match. JBL says history will be made tonight, and again at Wrestlemania as it will be the first time ever that Orton defends his Title against JBL, as long as Orton takes care of Cena. Orton hopes JBL wins the Chamber because he knows he can beat him. JBL says he will drag him all over Wall Street like he did Jericho, but he says that is Wrestlemania, not tonight. Orton ponders, and agrees and tells JBL to get Jericho and he will worry about Hardy. And if Cena shows up, they will both take care of him. And with that, we go to break.

– We are back and live from Philly and the Grish is backstage with Jeff Hardy. He reminds Hardy that he was so close last night, and Hardy agrees and says he is at a crossroads: give up and be satisfied or get back there again. He says the Rumble was only the beginning and storms off. We cut over to Mr. McMahon who is staring angrily at Hornswoggle, who gets a big pop. Vince says he let him down and that everybody was so excited about him being in the Rumble, but he didn’t come back like a McMahon, a winner. He came back a loser and Vince is ashamed of him. He tells him to leave and Hornswoggle heads off dejected as we go to break.

– The Verizon Wireless WWE Rewind looks back at the MVP/Flair battle from last night.

4) Mr. Kennedy defeats Brian Kendrick with the Mike Check

Nice to see Kendrick getting some more air time this week, and he starts off quickly by slapping Kennedy. Kennedy takes over and stomps away, but Kendrick hits the floor. Kennedy follows and is able to drop toehold Kendrick into the ring apron. Both men are back in and Kennedy goes to a hammerlock. Kendrick fights out and hits a dropkick and then heads up top. He goes for a missile dropkick, but Kennedy dodges and he crashes to the mat. Kennedy lands the Mike Check and picks up the win. Kennedy gets the mike and says he pleaded with Regal to not be in the Chamber at No Way Out, because he wanted something with more historic value: ending Ric Flair’s career. He says that he knows the fans are tired of seeing the same old dog doing the same old tricks and he will do to Flair what people do to animals when they can no longer function or have any value: he will put Ric Flair down. He tells Flair he will waste him, but Natch is never one take a verbal attack lightly and he is out to speak his mind. He says he has two things to say to Kennedy: Good Luck and Whoo! And with that, the Nature Boy tosses the mike down and dances on the ramp for us as we go to break. Grade: .5

– We are back and we hear the Royal Rumble theme song by Airbourne one last time as JR tells us to visit WWE.com to obtain lots of information about the Royal Rumble.

5) Maria defeats Melina with a reverse sunset flip

Melina gives us the super leaping split tonight and then we get a delicious dose of sweet medicine as Maria and Santino head down to the ring. Lawler tells us that Maria actually made her own ring gear for tonight. She is smoking hot tonight, as always. Melina has control early as she works the leg, but Maria is able to turn things around and hit a running reverse splash in the corner. She follows that up with the Bronco Buster, but Melina is able to pull her into the buckle face first. Melina goes back to work on the leg, but Maria turns it into a headlock. Melina lands a neckbreaker, but Maria slugs her way back up. Maria hits a headscissors takedown and then follows with a stomach buster for 2. She misses a charge and Melina clubs away at her. She tries a sunset flip and pulls Maria’s pants down, but she is able to sit on Melina and pick up the win. Santino jumps in the ring and covers Maria’s butt with his jacket. He damns the Japanese people for their HD technology. He says all the fans are fantasizing about her right now, including JR who has erected a monument in his pants. He wants to take the Liberty Bell, turn it upside down and puke in it. We will never, ever see Maria in Playboy and Santino drags her from the ring and storms to the back. Grade: .5

– Backstage, the Grish is with Chris Jericho. He says we saw a new side of Chris Jericho last night. Y2J says everyone knows the entertaining side of Jericho, but last night we met a new Jericho. He says he wants to get to know that Jericho, and that Jericho wants to get to know JBL. He says when JBL goes to Disney World on March 30; he will be going to Wrestlemania.

– We are back and Mike Adamle is in the crowd. He reminds us of the two big matches announced for No Way Out and reviews them quickly for us as we head to the ring for our Main Event.

6) Randy Orton & John Bradshaw Layfield defeat Chris Jericho & Jeff Hardy when JBL pins Jericho after an Orton RKO

Hardy is out first and his pop still remains, and hopefully his push does too. JBL is out in his limo, which I was hoping he would last night to squeeze through the entrance set. Orton is out last as JR reminds us of the deal he and JBL made earlier. Jericho and Orton start things off as the crowd launches a loud “Hardy” chant. We get a lockup to start and Jericho grabs a side headlock. Orton shoots him into the ropes, but gets caught with a pair chops and a stiff back elbow. Jericho points at JBL and then turns and boots Orton in the ribs. Jericho hits a double knee facebreaker, which draws JBL in. Jericho tags in Hardy and then follows JBL to the floor as Hardy heads up and lands a big Swanton Bomb on Orton. He covers and gets two, but JBL pulls Orton out to the floor as we go to break. We return and Hardy is in control of Orton and gets a near fall. Orton grabs a headlock and tags in JBL. JBL slugs away at Hardy and then takes him down with a shoulderblock, but misses an elbow drop. Hardy whips JBL into the ropes, but he reverses it and Orton knees him to distract him, which allows JBL to boot him in the face. Orton takes Hardy down and gets a near fall and then goes to an armbar. Orton tags JBL back in and he stomps away at Hardy. He lands some big rights in the corner and then distracts the ref, which allows Orton to work him over from the apron. Orton is tagged back in and continues to beat on Hardy, but Jeff is able to hit a clothesline. Both men are down and are able to make tags. Jericho is all over JBL and he pounds away on him and the goes for the Walls. Orton tries to take a shot at him, but Jericho hits a Springboard Dropkick to send Orton to the floor. Jericho hits a forearm on JBL and follows with the Lionsault for a near fall that is broken up by Orton. Hardy heads up top, but Orton shoves him down to the floor. Jericho again goes for the Walls, but the ref is outside checking on Hardy. Randy hits the ring and lands a nice RKO as Jericho had JBL in the Walls. JBL crawls over and picks up the win as JR mentions the similarities to the Armageddon finish. JBL and Orton stand tall in the ring as John Cena comes storming out, music and all. JBL bails right away as Cena hits the ring. Cena hits a shoulderblock and then hits the F-U on Orton to a mixed reaction. We get a replay of the ending of the match as well as the Cena attack. The match itself was a good TV tag match and the crowd stayed into it the whole way. Grade: 2.5

Final Analysis

The opening promo was hot, even if it was for different reasons than intended, but they had to expect some kind of negative reaction to Cena in Philly. I am glad they are running Cena and Orton at No Way Out as Cena and Triple H has more of a big match feel. The women’s tag was decent enough, but the main point was established, as Mickie continues to become more frustrated with each loss to Beth. I loved Regal’s announcement for the Chamber as he described it with the perfect mix of importance and danger for all of the participants. Carlito picks up another nice win and it is looking like he and Santino should pick up the titles at No Way Out. The one night D-X reunion was fine and the tag match was good as would be expected and it helped anchor the middle of the show. Kennedy picked up a squash win and I liked how they announced Kennedy taking on Flair already as well. It was interesting that they had two Diva matches in one night, but I guess they need to push Maria a bit, and they can’t do that against Beth really. Santino was on as always and with involved, this should be the best Playboy angle we have had yet. The Main Event was also pretty good and all four guys worked hard. They really built up the PPV nicely tonight, announcing three major matches right out of the gate. This will allow for some maximum buildup like we had for the Rumble and will hopefully start making the PPVs more attractive to fans. We shall see, as they need to keep up the logical building of each show to really convince fans on the fence to jump in and buy. I can’t really complain about tonight’s show as it started a really nice build for the PPV and featured a lot of in ring action. The crowd was red hot all the way through, and that always helps a show seem a lot better than it may have been. Nothing really stood out as memorable, but nothing was really bad either to hurt the grade in any significant way. Final Grade: B

MVP: Shawn Michaels & Triple H
Runner Up: John Cena & Randy Orton
Non MVP: Mickie James
Runner Up: Chris Jericho

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