Torch Flashbacks WWE RAW FLASHBACK - 5 yrs. ago (01-21-08): Final hype for Hardy-Orton at Rumble, Raw debuts in HD, Triple H main event
Jan 21, 2013 - 12:41:35 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
WWE Raw Flashback Series - 5 years ago
WWE Raw Report
January 21, 2009
Report by Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
THE FEATURE SEGMENT: Orton-Hardy Handshake
Throughout the show, several segments and video packages hyped the Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy main event at the Royal Rumble. The finale of the hype was a handshake ceremony at the end of the show.
Vince McMahon stepped out onto the stage to his music, then headed to the ring. Vince said, "All right, let's hear it - Vince McMahon in HD!" He introduced Randy Orton first. Jim Ross said Orton has the chance to become one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time. McMahon then introduced Hardy.
McMahon asked what kind of match they'd be seeing at the Rumble, such as high-risk dives, potentially career-ending kicks to the head, or extraordinary athletes giving it their all and leaving it all on the mat until one of them walks out as champion. McMahon asked both as professionals and world class athletes to shake hands. He asked first if either had any last-second comments before the handshake.
Orton grabbed the mic and said ever since he found out he was going to be his opponent at the Rumble, he had been relieved. "Don't get me wrong, you have done some amazing things, but you've never come close to becoming the WWE Champion. But I'll admit that I have underestimated you. Every time I close my eyes I see an image of Jeff Hardy crashing down on from 30 feet in the air. So congratulations, although you won't be winning this WWE Title on Sunday. But you have won something almost as important - my respect."
Hardy took the mic and said, "Just so you know, I don't care about earning your respect. I didn't hit a 30 foot Swanton to impress you, I did it to hurt you. I did it for my brother, Matt. I did it because I've waited too long for this opportunity. Most of all, I did it to show you I'll do whatever it takes to become WWE Champion." He said if he's going to shake hands with people he respects, he has a long line to wait in because there are people he respects a lot more than him. He walked to ringside and shook hands with Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Lilian Garcia. He walked into the crowd and shook hands with various fans, such as Ryan and Bobby and Cory and Ethan and Justin and Kevin and Chris and Wayne and Jordan and Christina and Brian. He worked his way back into the ring, after making the week of nearly a dozen fans. Great sequence. Really cemented that he's a "wrestler of the people" while also driving home he respects random fans more than WWE Champ Orton.
Back in the ring, Orton extended his hand. Hardy instead gave him a Twist of Fate. Orton sold it like he had fallen from the top of a building and landed on concrete. Hardy's music played as Ross and Lawler gave a final hard sell to the PPV.
This capped off one of the best jobs I've seen WWE hyping a single main event match in years outside of, perhaps, WrestleMania's top matches. They were focused and relentless with their message of Orton as an established heelish main event champ and Hardy as an underdog who's getting what is a rare chance for him at the gold.
In particular, I liked that they didn't try to hype Hardy as Orton's equal in resume or skill, but took a strategically more gutsy approach of admitting he's an underdog, but someone who has earned this spot through recent wins. By adding a strong personal motivation for Jeff via Orton attacking his brother fresh out of the hospital, it took the match to another level.
Hardy and Orton have both been stellar on the mic. Orton's done his best work on the mic playing off of someone considered under him on the totem pole, allowing him to be more arrogant and less sympathetic. He's spent most of his career playing off of bigger stars like Triple H, Undertaker, and John Cena. Hardy has stepped up and totally erased any concern that he couldn't carry a main event program on the mic. The Cena injury opened this door for Hardy and he's really seized the opportunity. Now WWE has to find a way to take advantage of Hardy's momentum. Shifting him to be the centerpiece top star of Smackdown would be my choice, but with Batista and Undertaker as top babyfaces, politically that may not be palatable.
Thumbs up for WWE's HD debut and their new entrance set. The entrance set would be fitting for a casino on the Las Vegas strip or Times Square. A real improvement and a fresh look for the show. The HD sound and picture were a major improvement. It really feels like you're sitting front row (or better) watching the action. It helped that everyone stepped up their intensity and stiffness for the cameras. Definitely a more enjoyable viewing experience, which is what WWE's goal was... It's also a lot easier to read the fan signs in HD. A woman held up a sign that said, "Jeff Hardy: Jump On This" with an arrow pointing down at her... Best line goes to Santino Marella (big surprise): "Why buy the cow when you have someone who lets you milk them for free." The runner-up line goes to Marella, also, who talked about "buying a free subscription" to Playboy... Jericho pulled off a serious interview well. The notion that his four year old doubts him because of JBL's promo not only pushes credibility on the face of it, but prompts the question: Why did Jericho let his four year old watch JBL cut him to pieces last week on Raw?... Kendrick put in the undercard performance of the night with his spirited fight against Umaga... I'm interested to see how Vince comes across on "Celebrity Apprentice." The only time we see him off WWE TV where he has complete control is when he's being grilled by a reporter...
THE BOX SCORE BASICS by Wade Keller
By Wade Keller: They opened with an well-produced recap of the Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy angle last week culminating in the stunt bump.
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show, touting the new HD broadcast. They'd tout it throughout the show many times.
(1) Shawn Michaels beat Mr. Kennedy in 15:00. Really good TV match. Hard-hitting, hard-bumping, fast-paced. In the end, Michaels elbowed out of a Mic Check attempt by Kennedy and then superkicked him out of nowhere for the clean win. (***1/2)
Vince McMahon tried to talk Orton into shaking Hardy's hand in a special hand shake ceremony later. He told him it would play mind games with Hardy if he looked him in the eye after what Hardy did to him last week.
(2) "Glamazon" Beth Phoenix beat Mickie James in 4:00. They tried to sell Mickie as someone who gives Glamazon a tougher time than anyone else in the division. She still lost decisively. (3/4*)
Todd Grisham interviewed Triple H who took a dig at Vince McMahon, saying that because of the HD, he had been holed up with make-up specialists and spacklers trying to cover his liver spots. He also guaran-damn-teed he'd win his match later to earn a spot in the Rumble.
Backstage, Brian Kendrick talked to Cody Rhodes about wanting to earn a spot in the Rumble later. Bob Holly interrupted. Cody and Brian laughed about his wearing a Carlito wig. Cody said he put a picture of it on his MySpace page. Holly didn't konw what MySpace was, but if someone got in "my space," he'd take them out.
A video package aired on Randy Orton with a lot of vintage early footage of his career including OVW.
(3) Hornswoggle & Finlay beat The Highlanders to qualify for the Rumble in 1:00. Finlay tossed Hornswoggle onto Rory for the win.
Chris Jericho walked out with a serious look on his face. Ross said he had been serious all afternoon during a time when people are usual casual and social chatting about their weekend. He said JBL left when he heard he showed up, so he's a coward. He said his four year old son watched JBL's promo last week and turned and askedhim if he's really a coward. He said that seed of doubt that JBL planted in his son will drive him at the Rumble to get revenge.
Backstage, Vince told Hardy not to risk anyone's life again like he did last week. He also tried to convince Jeff Hardy to shake hands with Orton. A skeptical looking Hardy said he'd give everyone something to talk about.
They announced new reserved seats have been released for WrestleMania.
(4) Umaga beat Brain Kendrick in 2:00, so Kendrick does not advance to the Rumble. Spirited fight by Kendrick, with a dominant brush-off by Umaga leading to the clean pin. (*)
Mickie was crying backstage. Maria asked what was wrong. She said she just can't figure out a way to beat Phoenix. Ashley walked up to Maria and said she came up with a good idea while at the Playboy mansion. Santino Marella interrupted and said he knows what she's going to say, but Maria need not buy her a Playboy subscription.
A promo aired for Vince McMahon on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice' on Thursday night. They razzed each other about the hair match and the shared catchphrase, "You're fired."
(5) Carlito (w/Santino Marella, Maria) beat Hardcore Holly (w/Cody Rhodes) after a distraction by Santino at ringside. (*)
A video hyped Orton vs. Hardy.
(6) Triple H beat Snitsky, Mark Henry, and William Regal to advance into the Rumble in 6:00.
Hardy and Orton had the hand-shake ceremony. Hardy instead gave Orton a Twist of Fate.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**