Monday Night Raw comes to us live from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The guest host tonight is Dule Hill, one of the stars of the USA show Psych, which has its season premiere Wednesday at 10/9c. Why does this matter? Well, because John Cena is guest starring of course! The traditional Raw intro video plays to welcome the home audience.
Degeneration X’s theme music starts the show, and the crowd goes nuts. Shawn Michaels and Triple H come out to the ring for their match against Legacy (Cody Rhodes/Ted DiBiase, both sons of wrestling legends hence the name of their team). Triple H asks if the crowd is ready, attempting to do the usual D-X shtick, but stops when he notices their mascot Hornswoggle (a midget who plays a leprechaun on the show) isn’t there. Shawn says he sent him home because it is six days before the Royal Rumble, the WWE’s next pay per view, and it is time to get serious. Shawn is attempting to win the Rumble in order to get a match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania (WWE’s version of the Super Bowl) and try to end Undertaker’s winning streak, which he failed to do last year. He asks Triple H why he is entering the Rumble and attempting to sabotage the plan. Triple H says that he also wants a shot at main eventing Wrestlemania and even though he and Shawn are friends, he will step over whoever he needs to in order to achieve this goal. They have a brief staredown, until Legacy’s music hits and Cody Rhodes/Ted DiBiase make their way to the ring for the match.
Match #1: DeGeneration X (Shawn Michaels/Triple H) vs. Legacy (Cody Rhodes/Ted DiBiase)
Although D-X are the tag team champions, their belts are not on the line tonight so this is a non-title match. As the match progresses, commentators Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler hype up D-X’s title defense Friday on Smackdown against the team of CM Punk and Luke Gallows. A usual tag team match, and if you saw any of the DX-Legacy matches over the past year, you wouldn’t be surprised by anything that went on here. The finish comes when Shawn tags himself in to the match. Triple H stares him down, and Rhodes smashes Triple H into Shawn. They stare each other down, and Shawn gives DiBiase the Sweet Chin Music (a savate kick to the jaw). Triple H then runs at Shawn, who ducks and Triple H instead hits Rhodes. Shawn goes for the pin on DiBiase and gets the win for his team.
Winners: DeGeneration X
Post-Match: Triple H and Shawn stare each other down some more, both uneasy, but let their friendship override that and they celebrate their victory.
We go to the announcer desk, where Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are sitting to greet the home audience. They talk about the Wednesday premiere of Psych and John Cena’s guest role. They treat the viewers to a mini-doc/sneak peek of the episode, with all the cast members saying how awesome and amazing Cena is. If you expected anything else, you are sorely mistaken.
MVP vs. Big Show is next as we go to commercial.
The Just For Men Slam of the Week: U.S. Champion The Miz disrespects MVP last week in the ring with guest host Jon Heder (yes, seriously). MVP comes out to confront Miz, but Big Show then shows up and lays MVP out with a massive right hand.
Back to the ring. MVP’s music hits and he comes to the ring. He grabs a microphone and says that he is the number one contender for the United States Championship and that Miz can hide behind The Big Show and guest hosts, but he can’t hide forever and he will become a three-time U.S. Champion. MVP then spouts his catch phrase “MVP is straight up ballin’!”, which causes me to roll my eyes. This brings out The Miz, who stands on the ramp with microphone in hand. The crowd absolutely hates him, and since he’s supposed to be the “heel” (wrestling talk for villain), that’s a good thing. Miz brings up MVP’s past nine-year stint in jail and how wrestling fans should not support a man like that. MVP counters by saying Miz would be “very popular” in prison (wink, wink) and that his friendship with The Big Show is questionable. Good to see wrestling is so mature about homosexuality, keep it up! Miz freaks out at this attack on his manhood and says he would love to fight MVP right now, but Big Show wants his shot. This brings out the 7’3” Big Show, who walks to the ring for the next match.
Match #2: MVP vs. The Big Show
Miz watches from the entrance ramp as the match starts. MVP gets the quick upper hand, but Big Show is too big and powerful to take that and gains the advantage. MVP gets caught in a chokeslam and it’s all over, which is an excellent way to put over a contender for a major title: have him lose in a glorified squash match. Thumbs up.
Winner: Big Show
Post-match: Miz comes down and holds the U.S. Title over the fallen body of MVP, then poses for the crowd.
We receive breaking news that Mr. McMahon has reached a decision on the Bret Hart situation (if you haven’t been keeping up, check out the many wrestling websites to catch up quickly) and will address the crowd tonight.
In the locker room, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase are recovering from their earlier loss. Rhodes says he didn’t know if DiBiase was still on board, but thanks him for taking the Sweet Chin Music earlier. DiBiase, who doesn’t like being kicked in the face understandably, goes to say something, but their leader Randy Orton interrupts them. He chastises them for both losing again to D-X tonight and also not helping Orton when he was attacked by WWE Champion Sheamus (Orton’s opponent at the Rumble) last week. He tells them both to accept the fact that only one of them can win the Rumble, then says that he will defeat Sheamus for the WWE title, with or without the help of his partners.
WWE forgets it’s a wrestling show as we go to another backstage segment, this time with John Cena (WWE’s most popular wrestler with young kids and women) who is with Dule Hill, tonight’s guest host. The other star of Psych, James Roday, had to have an emergency appendectomy so he had to vacate the spot. Cena tells Hill to do his thing as guest host and to make it “his” night. Hill is totally on board and Cena heads out. A knock at the door and The Miz comes in. Miz says that he should have been the guest star on the season premiere of Psych (Wednesday at 10/9c if you forgot already) because he is more famous than Hill and Roday combined. Hill takes offense to that, and says that “TO-NY-HEET” (he sings that, but it’s hard to do it in text) Miz will have a match against an opponent of Hill’s choosing. Hill then walks off, talking to nobody in particular and saying “this guy’s a chump” as we go to commercial. Dule Hill is already 500 times better than some of the other guest hosts Raw has had.
We come back from commercial and it is Diva tournament time. Maryse comes out to the ring for her match and grabs a microphone. She cuts a generic heel promo (promo meaning interview) starting in English then going into French (to no doubt piss off us red blooded Americans). All of a sudden, the pyrotechnics go off, startling her and me to be honest. It turns out that Dule Hill has wandered into the pyrotechnics area and started hitting buttons. He apologizes to Maryse, but Maryse doesn’t accept it and calls him a loser, then goes back into French. Dule Hill is awesome.
Match #3: Eve Torres vs. Maryse (Divas Championship semi-final)
The winner of this match will face either Gail Kim or Alicia Fox (match to be on later) at the Royal Rumble to crown a new Divas Champion (the original holder, Melina, got injured and had to give up the title). Instead of talking about the match, I need to get a brief rant out: WWE’s excuse for women’s wrestling is pathetic, fake looking, and boring. I tuned this one out, but managed to snap back into it when Maryse hit her finishing move, The French Kiss (a DDT), for the win and the trip to the Rumble.
Mr. McMahon is headed to the ring for his big announcement as we go to commercial!
A clip is shown from last week’s Raw, where The Undertaker came out and called Vince a coward for screwing Bret Hart 12 years ago in Montreal.
Mr. McMahon’s Announcement
McMahon heads to the ring with his traditional cocky strut as the crowd boos him heavily. He says that he is not a coward, he is a businessman. He recognized that Bret’s use was over and he sold him down the river to WCW (a rival promotion in the 1990s that almost bankrupted McMahon, but ended up going bankrupt itself in 2001) where Bret faded into obscurity. He asks the crowd if he should bring Bret back and the crowd roars in approval. “We want Bret” chants begin, which causes McMahon to roll his eyes. McMahon then says that he will not be bringing Bret back, which the crowd hates him for, stating he has no reason to. He then goes to the audience and starts asking them for reasons why Bret should come back. We get a couple of generic answers (“He’ll kick your butt!”) and McMahon mocks the crowd a little bit, which was absolutely hilarious. He then jumps back into the ring and says he heard no good reason to bring Bret back and his decision is final.
John Cena’s music hits and he comes out to confront McMahon. Cena gets into the ring and says he is not out here to change his mind, but he has a problem with the way he is calling Bret “used up.” He says that McMahon did the same thing to Roddy Piper (another wrestling legend) back when he hosted Raw at MSG a few months back, and that McMahon does not respect the wrestlers that work for him; all they, and the fans, are is a way to make money and to stroke his own ego. Cena says McMahon isn’t a coward; he’s pathetic. Cena then proceeds to ruin the segment by saying if Bret wasn’t on next week show, he’d show up on McMahon’s doorstep on his 90th birthday and knock his false teeth out, which took the air out of the whole segment for me.
Vince takes offense to this and invites Bret to meet him next week on Raw, and then says Cena will face WWE Champion Sheamus in the main event (non-title) tonight! Commercial time!
Back to the action, The Miz comes out to the ring to face the mystery opponent Dule Hill has selected. The man turns out to be Kofi Kingston and the crowd goes nuts.
Match #4: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
A decent match between two of the younger guys on the roster. The Miz has future WWE Champion written all over his face, and it’s a joy to watch him. The finish comes when MVP’s music hits, which distracts Miz and allows Kofi to get the upper hand and pin him. This almost makes up for MVP losing earlier, but not by much.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Post-Match: Miz, still fallen, angrily glares at MVP, who gloats on the entrance ramp.
Dule Hill and Carlito (a really underutilized member of the roster) head to the WWE production truck. A weird little segment that ends with Carlito’s opponent tonight being… Kelly Kelly! Carlito, who is in plain clothes, is laughing his head off and is totally down to beat up a girl. TV-PG folks. Commercial!
Back from commercial, Carlito comes out still wearing plain clothes. Kelly Kelly then comes out, looking scared she’ll have to fight a man. Santino Marella’s music hits and he comes out to defend her honor. Although not the best wrestler, Santino is the funniest and most entertaining part of the Raw roster and it’s always fun to see him. Santino goes to fight Carlito, but is attacked from behind by Jack Swagger. They have had a mini feud over the past few weeks and Swagger roughs him up. He smashes Santino’s head into the ring pole and then does arrogant push ups over Santino’s fallen body. Once again, Carlito adds nothing to the show. Commercial.
When we come back, Cole promises us (the “WWE Universe,” their term for fans) the most star-studded Royal Rumble ever. A video package is then aired highlighting facts about the past Rumbles and to give the match legitimacy, and it is. The Royal Rumble is their specialty and they do it well, even in bad years.
Once again, Cena is backstage with Hill. More plugging for Psych (Wednesday 10/9c, to reiterate) occurs when they get Roday on speaker phone, which is pretty cool considering he just got his appendix removed and the last thing I’d want to do is call someone. Roday apologizes for missing the show and some jokes are made that I couldn’t quite hear. Alicia Fox comes in and asks if Hill is the psychic on the show. Roday tries to say he is, but Hill hangs up on him. Hill says he is, and predicts victory for her, so much so that he will be at ringside to cheer her on. She says that he better hopes she wins or else. Hill, once again, is awesome.
Match #5: Gail Kim vs. Alicia Fox (Divas Championship semi-final)
Hill is at ringside doing commentary, plugging his show (it’s called Psych if you didn’t know), and drooling over Alicia Fox. She ends up losing the match, however.
Winner: Gail Kim
After the match, Fox confronts Hill and slaps him for losing. Hill clutches his face and sulks off, ending his run as guest host.
Quick cut to the back and Sheamus is coming to the ring for the main event. Commercial! SUSPENSE!
Cole and Lawler announce next week’s guest host: William Shatner. I am in!
Main Event: John Cena vs. WWE Champion Sheamus (non-title match)
Cena’s reaction is tantamount to Germans when they see David Hasselhoff (I worded it like that so Norm MacDonald wouldn’t sue me). A usual Cena match, filled with the same moves seen over and over again. Sheamus attempts to get a count out victory twice, but fails. On the second time, Randy Orton comes out of nowhere and hits an awesome RKO (like a Diamond Cutter — look it up, NON-FAN!) to give Sheamus the win by DQ.
Winner: Sheamus by DQ
Orton does his creepy staredown on Sheamus, then sees Cena come in and goes to attack him. Cena blocks it and hits the Attitude Adjustment (Fireman’s carry) to be the last man standing, possibly foreshadowing Cena’s win in the Rumble match, but I hope not. Also, not a good way to build the WWE Title match. The show goes off the air with Cena celebrating.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: It was a good “go home” (the last week before a major event when they are putting the final build into it) show, but the matches were boring. Dule Hill did a great job as guest host, but it still won’t make me watch Psych’s season premiere (Wednesday at…oh forget it!). The Miz continues to shine as a heel and should hopefully be a bigger star by the end of 2010. Overall, I’d give the show a pass, but a boring pass.