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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 12/15: Batista & Cena vs. Cody & Manu & Orton, Kelly Kelly & Melina vs. Glamazon & Jillian

Dec 16, 2008 - 10:20:39 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 15, 2008
PITTSBURGH, PA.
LIVE ON USA NETWORK


[Q1]

-Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show and announced headlines coming out of Armageddon, including Jeff Hardy winning the WWE Title and Shawn Michaels announcing "he is broke" and is now working for JBL. Lawler also noted that Miz & John Morrison would defend their newly won tag team titles later on Raw.

1 -- KELLY KELLY & MELINA vs. JILLIAN HALL & "GLAMAZON" BETH PHOENIX (w/Santino Marella)

Cole said Melina has her sights set on the Women's Championship. As Santino and Phoenix walked to the ring, a woman in the crowd got their attention. She had a sign of Phoenix and got excited about getting her picture taken with Beth. She rejected Santino, but Phoenix ordered him to take their picture together. She jumped up and down in excitement after the picture was taken. There will be a lot of fans freeze-framing certain camera shots of Kelly this week as her ring outfit was silver chaps on the outside of basically pink lingerie. As usual, the match was ridiculously short. Absolutely ridiculously short. It ended when Kelly schoolgirled Jillian.

WINNERS: Kelly & Melina in 1:00.

-Afterward, Jillian jumped Kelly, then Beth joined in. Pyro blasted and out came Kane. The heels bailed out. Kane backed Kelly into the corner. She looked panicked. He held his hand out for her. She rolled out of the ring and fled backwards up the ramp rather than accept his gesture. Kane pursued her to the back.

[Commercial Break]

-After a nice shot of the Pittsburgh skyline, Cole said a distributing development occurred before the break with Kane. Lawler said he can't blame Kelly for retreating as Kane stalked her. They showed that during the break, Kelly bumped into Jamie Noble as he talked to D-Lo. Kane then shoved Noble into a wall as Kane caught up with Kelly who cowered against a window on the verge of tears. If you're a woman in distress and your in a backstage area full of supposed heroic muscular men, why not find one of them rather than cower alone in a corner?

[Q2]

2 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. SIM SNUKA

Cody Rhodes and Manu sat at ringside. Lawler said he would have bet Rey's nose was broken from the Go To Sleep. Cole said he checked with Rey, but it was just sore. Before the match, Deuce took the mic from Lilian Garcia and said from now on he'd like to be introduced by his real name. He said he is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and his real name is "Sim Snuka." Lawler said that was "quite a revelation from Snuka." Lawler said that explains, if he truly is Snuka's son, why Cody and Manu watched from ringside. Rey took a beating early, but then head scissored Snuka against the ropes for a 619. Snuka dove out of the ring onto Snuka. Cody got in Rey's face and shoved him. Rey elbowed him. Manu and Cody attacked Rey, who slipped away a few seconds later only to be attacked in the aisle by Mike Knox from behind. Snuka, Cody, and Manu watched from the ring. Knox stared down at Rey who was pretty much motionless for 30 seconds.

WINNER: Rey via DQ in 3:00.

STAR RATING: * -- Good to see Deuce get a shot out from under the old gimmick. Too early to tell what his upside is, but he's got something worth investing some time in.

[Commercial Break]

-A DX commercial aired with Shawn Michaels, who's totally broke, begging you guy a Triple H bear and DX t-shirts so he can keep his brothers and sisters in their houses. Triple H also plugged a "Heartbreak Kid" doll. Triple H said there's a special button in the back that makes all of its hair fall out.

-They showed Lawler and Cole at ringside. Lawler said those DX skits were filmed a few weeks ago, and now it's bitter sweet to look at them because Michaels is now broke. Cole said later they'd have details on JBL becoming his boss.

-Backstage Kane took Kelly into an interrogation room and said that last week she looked him in the eye and said love is a wonderful thing. Kelly said they were just presenting an award. "Really, you didn't feel anything?" Kane said. "You were just leading me on? A lot of people have hurt me, Kelly. A lot of people have led me on, Kelly." He said if she's one of those people, she can get up leave the room. She stood up to walk out the door that he opened for her, but he slammed the door quickly and then told her that he knew she felt something, too.

-Todd Grisham interviewed Randy Orton backstage. He asked him why he demanded time. Orton said he challenged Batista to a rematch, but he hasn't heard back. He said it doesn't surprise him because Batista is a coward. Batista walked up and said he has an answer. Orton slapped Batista and then ran away quickly. Batista pursued him all the way to the stage. Cody and Manu joined Orton in a triple team attack of Batista. They dragged him to the ring. John Cena made the save. Batista and Cena stood side-by-side as an obnoxious woman cried in the crowd, "Oh my god! Oh my god, noooo!"

[Q3]

[Commercial Break]

-Backstage, Batista thanked Cena. Cena said he promised himself that after he took care of his business with Jericho, he'd take care of them. Grisham interrupted and said Stephanie McMahon told him that Orton & Cody & Manu were booked to face them later.

-"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan came out to face Jericho. When Jericho's entrance music played, Jericho walked out wearing a suit. He told Duggan that he was refusing to wrestle. He said he is the 2008 Superstar of the Year and he has been carrying this show single-handedly on his back for 12 months and it's a slap in his face to have to compete against somebody like him. He said if Labron James missed a game-winning shot, he doesn't get banished to the end of the bench the next night, nor should he. He said he is the best at what he does and he refused to perform against a bottom of the barrel talent like Duggan. "It's an insult and it's a travesty," he said. He will not wrestle unless it's a worthy opponent or for a title. Duggan looked sad. Cole said, "It's good to see his experience at Armageddon humbled Chris Jericho."

-Kane continued to interrogate Kelly backstage. He asked her if she wanted to get to know him better. She said no, while crying and wrapping her hands around herself protectively. Kane asked if there was someone else. He said he'd force it out of her. She continued to cry as the cameraman did nothing to help her, but he did get a good close-up of her panicked look. Those cameraman are disciplined. It's like when Mark Burnett after an early season of "Survivor" that his cameramen were there to document the island activities, but not get involved. He said if a contestant fell into a campfire, the cameraman would be fired if he intervened to save him.

[Commercial Break]

-Kane told Kelly that she did the right thing by telling him. "I have to go now," he said. Kelly said, "Please, just don't hurt him." Kane turned and laughed. "Like you said, love is a wonderful thing." Kelly pouted some more.

-Lilian Garcia introduced William Regal, who walked out with Layla. They sat on the stage and watched as C.M. Punk made his ring entrance.

[Q4]

3 -- MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. C.M. PUNK & KOFI KINGSTON -- World Tag Team Title match

Cole narrated pictures of Kingston & Punk losing the tag titles at a house show on Saturday night in Ontario. Lawler said this is as big as it gets on Raw. Nice to hear tag titles getting some lip service indicating the belts are prestigious. Quote of the Night from Lawler: "If I was a chick, I'd be impressed by John Morrison's hair." Not sure why, but that cracked me up. Cole said Raw's been on longer than Gunsmoke, Seinfeld, and the Simpsons. Okay, we got it. At 3:00 four-action broke out. Kofi launched Punk over the top rope with a crossbody block onto both Miz and Morrison at ringside. They cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

The heels were in control after the break, isolating Punk. Kofi got the hot tag at 10:00 and went on a flurry of signature offensive on Morrison leading to a two count. Miz broke up a pin attempt after a Russin leg sweep. Punk knocked Miz out of the ring and then dove onto him. Kingston then leveraged Morrison with his leg scissors into another near fall. Morrison ducked a Kofi bodyblock and then KO'd him with a roundhouse kick to the face for a near fall, broken up by Punk. Miz knocked Punk out of the ring, Kofi knocked Miz out of the ring, and then Morrison finished Kofi with his finisher for the win.

WINNERS: Miz & Morrison to retain the World Tag Team Titles at 12:00.

STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Really good tag match. It felt important, too. WWE's hidden ace has been the tag division. WWE may be finally playing it.

[Q5]

-Kane entered the ring afterward and chokeslammed Miz. He followed with a Tombstone. The lights went dark briefly, then Kane left the ring. Lawler said Kelly must be dating Miz.

-Cole plugged the main event three-on-two tag match. Lawler plugged exclusive footage was next of Michaels and JBL at the PPV.

-A video package aired on Armageddon, pushing the replay and showing Jeff Hardy's win.

[Commercial Break]

-WWE Fact: Over the last five years, WWE Superstars have visited more than 200 military instasllations including forward operating bases, aircraft carriers, submarines, and military hospitals.

-JBL walked out onto the stage and introduced the footage of Michaels's speech at Armageddon. They replayed the entire segment. They cut back to JBL who merely smiled. Is that the longest extended footage from a PPV since Dallas Page vs. Goldberg was replayed on Nitro? That was a gutsy move by WWE and shouldn't be a pattern.

-Candice Michelle and Mickie James asked Kelly if she was okay or Kane hurt her. She said Kane didn't do anything. Mickie said, "You didn't tell us about the Miz." Kelly said, "The Miz? Are you serious?"

[Commercial Break]

4 -- SANTA HAAS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER

Santa came out to no crowd pop, but a "Santa" chant did break out as the match began. Ziggler yelled his name at Santa, so Santa punched him and splashed him in the corner. Ziggler came right back with a dropkick since there's never been a corner splash less painful than that one, with Santa's padded belly blunting the impact. Ziggler settled into a chinlock. It looked like he was wrestling a poodle because of Santa's white curly wig. I really can't imagine any parents letting their kids under age 9 or 10 watch this. Even if it were explained that this isn't the real Santa. That said, kids that age should be in bed before 10:20 p.m. Lawler said, "This is a little surreal seeing Santa in there wrestling." Santa came back with a dropkick and a corner shoulder tackle. ZIggler avoided anothers plash and then gave him his finisher for the win. Ziggler ripped off most of Haas's costume afterward.

WINNER: Ziggler in 4:00. Santa put up a good fight, but no gifts for kids this year. I know WWE thinks this stuff is "more entertaining" than just establishing Ziggler in-ring style with a definitive enhancement match where shows off his signature moves and personality, but I'd argue otherwise.

-A video package aired hyping Kennedy's movie.

[Q7]

-Backstage, Cryme Tyme approached Hacksaw Duggan. Shad said, "It's time. Come on, man, it's time."

-Jericho walked up to Stephanie McMahon and asked him what that stunt was out there. She said when she asks him to compete, he's to do what he's told. Jericho said he's Superstar of the Year and she should show him respect. "I am your boss. If I tell you to dance, I expect you to dance," she said. Jericho said Batista's rematch clause has expired so he has no legal claim to a title rematch. Stephanie sarcastically, "Really? Well, geez, I didn't know that, Chris. I guess I'm not a good boss." Okay, there are few people in 30 seconds who have ever come across less likable on TV than Stephanie did just there, and she's acting like a complete prick to one of their top heels, basically creating sympathy for him. She said she knows everything there is to know about her Superstars, and next week all former champions will compete in four different matches, and the four winners will compete the next week in a Fatal Four-way match, and then that winner will get a title shot against John Cena for the World Hvt. Title. She said she was doing him a favor by giving him a warm-up match. He said he doesn't want a warm-up match against anyone. Stephanie told him not to make a spectacle on national TV in the future if he has an issue with her decisions; instead, talk to her about it. She said if he shows attitude in the future, she's blackball him from future big matches.

-Manu and Cody argued about their plan going bad. Orton walked up and said they need to be 100 percent successful in everything they do, or else this group, "this Legacy," it's over.

-Batista's ring entrance took place.

[Commercial Break]

-A replay aired of Cena saving Batista from the attack by Orton, Manu, and Cody earlier in the show.

[Q8]

5 -- JOHN CENA & BATISTA vs. CODY RHODES & RANDY ORTON & MANU

All of this talk about contenders wanting title shots, and Steph setting up various tournaments and matches to earn title shots, really does add a lot to the prestige and marketing value of title belts. That is taken for granted by fans when a promotion does a good job making titles seem important, but long-time fans know wrestling promotions often badly mess that up, and it's the cheapest, easiest asset to build up on their roster since the belt never gets hurt, never retires, never leaves for another promotion, never goes on vacation, and never grows stale with fans. That soulless look Orton once had in his eyes a couple years ago seems to have been replaced with something better - something less obviously utterly unhappy and more tuned in with the world - and that's nice to see. Cole described Manu as "the muscle" of this Legacy group. Cole said: "You talk about Orton not having emotions. But by not having emotion, he does have emotion. In those piercing eyes, it seems like his mind is working at all times." Good, I'm not the only one psychoanalyzing Orton this week. At 4:00 Cena scored a two count on Cody after a running bulldog.

[Commercial Break]

The heels dominated after the break for a while. Cody broke up an FU attempt by Cena on Manu with a dropkick. He then mounted Cena and punched away at him.

[Q9]

Cody hit a top rope punch to Cena's ribs, then a top rope moonsault press for a near fall. The mic picked up Cena and Cody discussing the next spot after a kneedrop and pin attempt by Cody. Cena avoided a kneedrop and hot-tagged Batista to little pop from the tough crowd. He powerslammed Cody, but then fended off Manu's interference. He gave Cody a spinebuster, then shook the top rope and signaled for the Batista Bomb. Orton threw Manu into Batista, then hit Batista with an RKO. He knocked Cena off the ring apron, ordered Cody and Manu to swarm him, and then shoved the ref before kicking Batista in the head with a running punt. The ref DQ'd him for the shove.

WINNERS: Cena & Batista in 18:00.

STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Good match. Good to also see Manu and Cody put in a position to "hang" with top acts like Batista and Cena without being portrayed as huge underdogs or beneath them.

-Afterward, medics checked on Batista, who didn't move for two minutes after being kicked. The heels stood together and watched from the ramp, with the camera zooming in on Orton with a self-satisfied grin. If Cody were four inches taller, everybody would be talking about him as a prospective top tier player for the next 15 years. Even with a slight height disadvantage compared to other top top acts, he's still showing signs in every category of being a future main eventer.

[Batista photo credit Mick Minecci (c) PWTorch]


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