Greetings to all of you…in the future! Oooo. Spooky. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are live on tape from last week's double taping, but that doesn't make them any less excited than they would be for a real Raw. No. After all, we've got ourselves a loaded show. Get this. Mark Henry vs. John Cena!
BAM! What? Not satisfied? Fine. How's about Jeff Hardy vs. Shawn Michaels. Ah. See? Knew that would put all you smarties in a good mood. You happy? Yeah? Good, because it's time for Vince McMahon versus his midget bastard leprechaun son. Yeah. Smile
1. Hornswoggle pinned Vince McMahon after the Tadpole Splash.
Well, it finally happened. Vince McMahon got to wrestle a "little person." Doesn't it amaze anyone else how in 1987, King Kong Bundy elbowdropped a midget and the world went silent. Now, there's a midget pinning everyone on the card. How can a company that doesn't feel comfortable putting cruiserweights over heavyweights love putting a midget over them? It's mind-blowing. I guess he's so small that they don't even realize it. He's only a foot shorter than Rey Mysterio Jr. though. I guess the cutoff is somewhere between 4'4 and 5'4 for consistent wins. Seriously, though. Let's think about this logically. If they have McMahon lose to Rey or Brian Kendrick or CM Punk or Elijah Burke or…well, pretty much any wrestler, it'll be a big deal. The winning star would have an instant leg up and a chance to prove small-guy haters wrong. Instead, they have Horny pin Vince. That way he can go on to…uh, bite Carlito's ass? Paint holes in walls and run through them? Grunt and strip Melina? I just don't get it. You can get an equal pop out of those skits WITHOUT having him ever wrestle. He's a horny leprechaun. He can terrorize people and not have to win matches in the process. It's all pretty stupid. Anyway, here's how everything went down…
The stipulation here is that if Fit Finlay gets involved, he'll be fired. So, of course, Fit Finlay gets involved. After the bell rings, father and son lock up. Vince tosses the little guy to the mat twice before dropping to one knee. He offers a free shot to the Little Bastard, but he couldn't bring himself to do it…until the fourth try. That's when Horny would up and finally slapped his old man.
His old man responded by taking off his belt. Uh oh. Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross look at the situation as a father preparing to whip his son. Oh. Thank God. For a second there, I thought he was going to rape him. You know how weird things can get around here. Sadly, it's not too far fetched.
The whooping didn't happen, though. Nope. Mr. McMahon didn't beat his grown son on television because, as mentioned earlier, Finlay got involved. The Belfast Bruiser hit the ring and wrapped his arm around his leprechaun. This drives the boss nuts! How dare this Irish hooligan defy his orders. You want to play games, Finny? Huh?! Fine. You want to get involved in family business? Well, Mac wants you to think about this for a second. You have a wife at home. (My name is Mrs. Finlay and I love to cook!) You have kids. (Our names our Fin 1 and Fin 2 and we love to play with Legos!) Now you're willing to throw their livelihood away? You want to throw it all away for what? You want to get fired for…Hornsowggle? Come awn, Fidy. You don't want to be fired, do you?
Hearing this, Finlay steps back and Vince tells him that it's a good idea. After all, "you're not the kind of Irish I am." The Mac Man directs Fit from the ring and informs Hornswoggle that this big friend is a just a big coward. He follows it up by tossing the little guy to the ground. For the soon-to-be-fired brawler, that was the final straw.
Double F turned back around and hit McMahon across the face with his shillelagh. Following that, Hornswoggle hit the Tadpole Splash, the referee counted three, the cameraman shot to a scary woman in a Hardy Boys shirt, and a fun time was had by all.
On a side note, I would love to know who at WWE thinks anyone on Earth cares about Fit Finlay's job status. It's like, "Whatever. Fire him." He doesn't even work on Raw, does he? Whatever. I can take him or leave him.
Commercial Break. I just barely remember having this game.
Seething backstage, William Regal stands by an iced-up Vince McMahon. The chairman isn't happy either. He tells Regal to fetch termination papers because "tonight we're gonna fire Finlay." William is overjoyed because "fired" is British slang for "snuggle with."
Hi this is Y2J. Is this JBL?
No. This is MVP. I'm here with I.R.S. and E.T. We're doing P.C.P. and watching H.B.O.
2. Chris Jericho pinned JBL after the Codebreaker
OK. Time to fess up. I'm a JBL fan. Sure, he was pushed very fast at first. Sure, he's sort of like the big rude cowboy in old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Sure, he's selling an energy drink that seems to be named after Pot. But, in the end, he's awesome. His character is tailor made for wrestling. Forget Bobby Roode, Bradshaw is the 2008 Ted DiBiase. He's like Ted DiBiase and Stan Hansen had a baby and fed him beer. Chris Jericho is a good performer too, but sometimes can seem as though he's trying too hard no matter what direction he goes in. If he's doing comedy, it's vaudevillian speeches about "child bearing hips." If serious, it's melodrama about his kids doubting his manhood. When he's himself, he comes off best and it seems like he's slowly easing back into that. In a feud like this, it's impossible to not see the size differential (especially since it's based on brawling and anger.) Both Lawler and Ross address this and it ends up coming off better than by just ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room. J.R. also brings up Y2J's mean streak and how, even in the locker room, he's not intimidated by anyone. (JG Note: You can ask ol' Whiskerbiscuit about that one.
WHO'S NEXT!?) Bradshaw dominated a good amount of the match, but in the end a missed clothesline was his downfall. John didn't hit the mark on his Clothesline From Wallstreet and found himself caught in the Codebreaker. Mr. 222 gets the 123.
After the bell, "The Samoan Bulldozer" Umaga rushed out to the ring and thumbed Chris Jericho in the throat…
…and then did the same thing to his benefactor, Brother John Bradshaw Layfield! My God! How can the deranged hired monster turn on his arrogant heel employer shortly before the Elimination Chamber title opporunity that they're both involved in!? That never happens! Scandalous.
After laying out both guys, Maggie roars as he backs up the aisle. We then watch a quick replay where we learned that Jerry Lawler has no idea what Jericho's finishing move is called.
Commercial Break. Unaired Commercial for Roddy Piper's book. Try to ignore the spelling error in the first second of the video.
Still to Come: Sexual Chocolate vs. Marine Vanilla.
Bumbling announce team newbie, Mike Adamle is in the audience again. I guess they wouldn't let him backstage. Mike introduces a video hyping the upcoming match between John Cement and Randy Harvey at No Way Jose.
No Way Out Video Package: John Cena came back from his injury early. Everyone assumes he used some sort of unsafe supplement. Personally, I think he's a robot. He could have been back the next day. Just replace a few wires. They had to keep him out four months in order to keep up appearances. Welcome back, Robo-John.
William Regal is knock, knock, knocking on Vince McMahon's door backstage. The boss comes out, complete with an icepack on his head, and hears what Regal has to say. Willie tells the chairman that everything's good to go. It's time to make Finlay's life hell! After looking at the bump on VKM's head, William reiterates his hopes for Fit's demise. Mac doesn't fully agree though. Being fired is too good for this guy. Hell, being
lit on fire is too good for him. Let's punish both Finny and the viewing audience all at the same time! Let's book a Mr. McMahon vs. Horsnwoggle McMahon rematch for Raw next week. Let's put it in a steel cage! So it is written…so it shall be dumb. Splendid.
Uh, I'll take "What The Frig?" for $500, Alex…
Commercial Break. And they wonder why the XFL failed.
Still to come: HBK vs. Rainbow Head.
Enough, Paul! I know we're doing the incestuous brother/sister gimmick, but please stop calling my ass "Pirate's Booty!"
The Burchill Family has debuted. Before the bell is rung, Katie Lea Burchill took the microphone and introduced us to her big brother, Paul Burchill. She calls him beautiful and says that watching Paul is all that makes her happy. That brings a weird smile to Paulie's face.
"Every brother loves to make his little sister happy. So whatever Katie wants, Katie always gets."
- Paul Burchill
3. Paul Burchill pinned Brian Kendrick
Looks like another week at the office for Brian "Omar Atlas" Kendrick. Do you think he sits backstage and says to himself, "The want to use me to get over the incest gimmick guy. What does that say about me?!" Great gimmick, guys. Man, this company has major issues. Poor Burchill. On WWE TV, he's been a pirate and a guy who does his sibling. The only place that used him right and made him a bad-ass was OVW…the company WWE severed ties with last week! The irony is amazing, ya' salty sis-bangin' buccaneer. I also don't get why they didn't change his name. It makes WWE seem pretty lame. It's as if parts of their own history don't even matter. He wrestled on Smackdown for-friggin-ever, now even though he still has the same name, we pretend that didn't happen. What does it say about your company? If they wanted to not talk about the pirate gimmick, they should have changed the last name. Paul Bartle. Paul Chruchill. Paulie Peanuts. Who cares? Anything. To not change it is just silly. It makes no sense. Some casual fans wouldn't even know he's the pirate guy if you didn't give him the same name. All that aside, Pauly B. beat the tar out of Kendrick, as one might expect. After some interference by Katie, Brother Paul worked the small jobber-to-the-stars and kept him from gaining too much offense. When he finally did get a few hits in, Brian ended up screwed anyway. After missing a body splash, Spanky had his head stomped into the floor Smackdown vs. Raw-style and was hit with a Roll of Dice neck breaker. The ref tapped three and the sister-lover wins the match…although his tights also seem to be falling down in the process.
Backstage, a guy who probably doesn't have a romantic relationship with his sister, John Cena is headed to the ring. How long will it take? About two minutes. We timed him. It's O.K. Watch these ads. You won't miss nothin'.
Commercial Break. Wonder when the Randy Savage/Slim Jim love fest began? In childhood. That's when.
First man out is Randy Orton. Belt in hand, the Legend Killer walks to the ring and does his Simba from The Lion King pose with it. The announcers run down all the crappy products sponsoring tonight's show before Dandy Randy takes a seatsie weatsie at the announce table.
Oh my God! What happened to you!?
What? I don't understand, Mr. Cosby. I just wanted your autogr…
Man, Malcolm. This is out of control! When you were on the show, you were a thin man. You didn't boobedy-boo, son. Now you're absolutely huge. You're not the Theo I know.
I'm Mark Henry, sir.
Oh. Ooops. Sorry about that. Here. Have some Jell-o Puddin'.
4. John Cena defeated Mark Henry via STFU submission.
Screw ya'll. I missed John Cena. He's a lot like Triple H in a way. WWE spent so long pushing him when people couldn't stand him. Now, years later, we get the payoff. He's over and, although not the hardcore thug he was years earlier, has settled into a character you can stomach. No more poopies on Michael Cole jokes. Instead, John's half Marine/half suburban rap kid. Also, his ability to have good matches with a wide range of opponents is something we're all missing too. From Umaga to Michaels to Khali, Dr. Thuggy has had good performances with them all. He may not be the greatest wrestler of all time, but in terms of overall skills, he's leaps and bounds above many, many others. He's also a polarizing figure. All his adoring fans cheer his reign. All his haters tune in to watch him lose. In fact, had he not been injured last year, he would be huge right now. As for the Orton-Cena feud, it's moving along. Throwing Mark Henry into the mix makes no sense because he's on Smackdown. I guess that doesn't matter and we have him now though. So suck on that, Smackdown. Lucky us. I suppose they figured they couldn't feed Snitsky to Cena in this role again. How much Snitty can you take? Better to plug the World's Strongest Man into the conflict instead. Aside from that, the whole thing is basic. Henry is huge, but not hugely successful. That means he can beat down the heroic main event baby face, but never win. We've seen it a million times. (JG Note: Akeem, Mabel, Kamala, The Kongs, 1987 WWF Killer Khan.) After ducking a splash and hitting a flying shoulder block, the Doctor of Thuganomics locked the STFU for the tap out. Considering that the live crowd was there for last week's show and already saw Sexual Chocolate eat an F-U, the ending here wasn't too surprising.
After the bell sounded, the former WWE Champion walked to the announce table and looked the current one in the face. Randy Orton refused to stand, but that didn't affect John Cena.
"You don't have to look at me. You don't even have to stand up. But I would advise you to shut the hell up and listen to what I have to say. I am 100%. You're a smart champion Randy, but this time the plan didn't work. I am stronger than I have ever been. You have seen what I can to do a man that is 450 pounds. I am more focused than I have ever been in my entire life because for once, I am not the hunted. You are the hunted! This Sunday, this is not injuries. And for me, there will be no excuses. For you randy, there is no way out!"
- John Cena
How anyone can think that Chris Jericho is more worthy of a main event slot than this guy is beyond me. The entire crowd sat silent and John delivered his promo great. He's gets beat up on so much by critics and, most of the time lately, it's undeserved. Tonight was a great example of Cena showing what he can do best.
Commercial Break. Why is Brock excited about being in a Bra and Panties match? I get that he gets to strip Torrie, but he has to wear a set of bra and panties too, right? Ugh. What a weirdo!
Ken Kennedy is here. As he stands in the ring, Jerry Lawler speaks of how weird it is to think that a man can "retire Ric Flair." You'd always thought that he'd go out on his own terms. (JG Note: Die in ring.) Mic in hand, Mr. Kennedy Kennedy aims to be that man. He calls out Bruno Sammartino's favorite wrestler, Ric Flair, to look him eye to eye and forfeit their No Way Out match.
Whooo! The Nature Boy is in the -
by God - house! Clad in a suit, Naitch walks the aisle and steps into the squared circle where Kennedy is waiting. Ric tells the youngster that they're not on the same page. Listen here, whippersnapper.
This is food for thought. Before you were born…"
- Ric Flair
Kennedy interrupts and says "again with this crap?" In what is curiously a somewhat regular thing in modern wrestling, I agree with the heel.
"No no, this ain't crap. This is a history lesson and guys like you who think they're up here when they're really down here need to hear it. 35 years. Twice on Sunday. Twice on Saturday. Seven days a week so someone like you can come along, work 100 days a year, and make a lot of money. That's right…No brag. And if you think you're gonna walk out here on the grandest stage in sports entertainment, ask me to walk out here in front of a crowd like this and tell you that I'm hurt. Tell you that I'm so hurt that I can't go Sunday, I don't think so."
- Ric Flair
Ken smiles. If you knew what was good for ya, you might. Then again, you don't know, do ya? Flair again tells Double K that there's no way he'll forfeit. You called Slick Ric out here and he's out here. But your answer is no because The Dirtiest Player in the Game is a 16 time champion. You gotta respect that, Kendell. After all, you haven't even had it once. Oh snap. Sure, you're gonna do great things, but Nature Man isn't your stepping stone! After a "whooo," the Horseman goes beat red and vows to fight another day. He stands face to face with Ken Ken.
The microphone is dropped.
Jim Ross gets Goosebumps.
Mr. Kennedy begs off.
I realize my cup of soda is empty.
I am sad.
Suddenly - out of nowhere - Ken exploded with a dropkick to Flair's knee. The "Misfit" fell to the mat and Kenny stood over him as they play his music. Hey Ric! Nice knees, deekface!
Commercial Break. I have my money on Eric Embry.
Next week, The McMahon-Hornswoggle-Finlay Thing Part 2.
5. Melina defeated Maria when Jillian distracted her by making out with Santino Marella
Melina came to the ring with Jillian Hall. They're friends or something. Maria came to the ring with Santino Marella. They're dating or something. Also, Maria hasn't yet figured out that he's a heel and she's not because she's kind of slow in the fantasy wrestling world. During the bout, Marella contributed commentary at ringside. At one point Jim Ross said that Mary was always improving in the ring. Tino answered, "Because I teach her." When questioned by Jerry Lawler about how he landed a hottie like Miss M, he replied, "Because I'm Italian, Jerry." Meanwhile in the ring, his "girlfriend" was hitting some very strange looking clotheslines. None of that offense mattered though. Jillian had the secret plan. It involved singing and making out with The Milan Miracle. Between the screeching and the smooching, Maria was distracted, rolled up, and pinned.
After the match ended, Maria wasn't happy. Santino tried to plead his case.
"I, uh, I'm, I'm sorry about that. But Maria, you see, that was happens when you associate yourself with the Playboy. You see? You become a target. Just look at the Playboy curse. Candice Michele - injured. Torrie Wilson - injured. Ashley - well, she's not injured, but with those things in her mouth she's so ugly!"
- Santino Marella
(JG Note: See? I told you that agreeing with the heel happens regularly around here.)
After once again stating his desire for her to not do Playboy, Marella gave an ultimatum. It's your choice, Maria. Either continue to be Santino Marella's girlfriend or pose in Playboy…which you already did. What's it gonna be girl? You have one week. After laying out the deadline, Santino leaned in and….
…practically swallowed Maria's face. Pretty insane. When you consider that he just made out with Jillian a few minutes ago, you have to wonder what lottery this guy won to get paid for this job. I will say this, though. Santino better thank God that it's 2008. If this angle took place two years ago, he'd be making out with Viscera.
Commercial Break. Wonder why Cena's rapping gimmick started getting old?
The announce team runs down the No Way Out card and then introduces a Triple H video package. This was a good move. With his absence from both this week's and last week's shows, they needed something.
Candice Michele is ready to return. When? I don't know -- tomorrow. Next week? Next year? They don't say.
6. Jeff Hardy pinned Shawn Michaels with a Swanton Bomb
Man, this ought to calm down all those "WWE is dead because Jeff lost at the Rumble" people. Hardy's new push is different than any others. Sure he's had false pushes before. He's won the IC title only to have Hunter squash him for it shortly thereafter. He's taken Undertaker to the laddery limit only to fall back into bad habits again. This time, I think he's good to go no matter what. The loss to Randy Orton didn't kill him. It was WWE's way of creating a main eventer without having him with the title. It's happened before. Come on. Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, and Bob Backlund combined all held the company's title for about 450 years. Stars were still elevated in that time frame. In other words, you don't need to pin the champion to become a top contender. In fact, Hardy could come to the ring, club a baby seal to death, and still be over. (JG Note: With some of the whack-a-doodle fans out there - he might be even
more over, actually.) As for the match, these two worked great together, as you might expect. The fans were insanely into it. At one point, both men were on the outside while the referee counted. You could hear someone screaming, "SHAWN! HURRY UP, SHAWN!" He did eventually make it back to the ring and the two went back and forth some more. Both men exchanged near falls that were closer than Aaron Wood's haircut. With the momentum turning like the wind, it all appeared finished when the Rocker went for his flying elbow drop…but missed. Jeffery only scored a two count and hobbled back to his feet. After a very awkward Irish whip that looked completely off, Hardy landed a neck breaker and some more offense of his own. Again, there wasn't a winner. Just as the clock turned past 11, the Hardy Boy hit the Whisper in the Wind but still failed to score a victory. Jim Ross sounded so excited that it seemed like he was ready to tear his clothes off and scream. But each time you thought the bout was over, it wasn't. Both guys went for their finishers and were blocked. The Reborn DeGenerate came out on top of the exchange…but not for long. The Rainbow Header Warrior nailed a surprise Twist of Fate followed by a Swanton and the referee counted. You read it right. The man formerly known as Mr. Potential has just pinned Mr. WrestleMania.
The announcers love Jeff Hardy. The fans love Jeff Hardy. I would imagine that Matt Hardy loves Jeff Hardy. Hell,
everybody loves Jeff Hardy as we fade to black.
All in all…
This was the final show before Wrestle-Mini-a. It's WWE's new post Royal Rumble world, I guess.
Things used to be simple. Someone wins at the Royal Rumble. Bam. You have two months to sell his title match. Now, we don't. We have two matches at No Way Out to determine WrestleMania's top bout. We don't know our main events until after the February show. That cuts the selling time for Mania in half. To be honest, it kinda stinks.
The other problem is how many possible main events we could have for WrestleMania. Both brands have Elimination Chamber matches to crown a contender. That's 12 guys altogether. Even though some wrestlers are favorites, it still doesn't change the fact that the company can't focus on selling a bout between two guys. There's too many choices floating out there and, in order to sell No Way Out, you have to showcase them all as possible challengers. It just serves to water down the match you eventually make.
If we get Triple H vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania, the people who wanted Jeff Hardy will be pissed. If we get Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania, then the people who wanted Triple H will be pissed. If we get Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania, then the people who wanted Shawn Michaels will be pissed. If you have all of them fight - then what's the point of No Way Out?
So, I can't help but wish this show could be done the old way. I wish I knew what Mania was going to be. If not definitely, then at least less than six possibilities…on either brand. It just seems like a mish-moshed confusing thing that's doing nothing but diluting the biggest show of the year.
Last year, Vince McMahon was feuding with Donald Trump and everyone was complaining. Now he's feuding with a leprechaun. Miss The Donald yet?
I already praised John Cena earlier, but he definitely deserves any accolades he gets. He was great tonight and his promos, when intense, really carry him far. When he tries to do standup comedy, he fails. In other words, more John Wayne and less Wayne Brady.
Paul Burchill - same name, new guy. Not a fan of that concept. To debut him on Raw and not mention he was the Smackdown Pirate, despite having the same name, is insane. I know the argument will be, "Oh. He was on Smackdown. Raw is treated like a separate show." Yeah. I know. But that's stupid. It's one company. For J.R. and Lawler to see a guy who's actually appeared in a WWE Video Game as "Paul Burchill" - the same name he's using now - and pretend like he's brand new just makes fans think that WWE history doesn't matter. It makes them realize that the things they watch today will probably mean nothing tomorrow. It's sad when you think about it really.
I guess we have to wait until next week to see how things pan out. As it stands, the show wasn't horrible, but it definitely reminded us all that No Way Out has taken too much of WrestleMania's spotlight this year. I really hope they don't do this again. Mania is supposed to be special and not a follow-up show.
That does it for me. Be sure to check out the 62 minute shoot with Bruno Sammartino on
ClubWWI.com. Not only do you get over one hour with a Living Legend, you also get uncut shoot interviews with - deep breath…
Jerry Lawler, Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Kevin Nash, The Iron Sheik, Sid Vicious, Paul Bearer, Tito Santana, Rhino, John Heidenreich, Charlie Haas, Fred "Shockmaster" Ottman, Scott and Rick Steiner, AJ Styles, Chris Daniels, Tom Prichard, Jacques Rougeau, Tammy Sytch, Too Cold Scorpio, Ole Anderson, Skandar Akbar, Jimmy Hart, Jimmy Valiant, Bad News Brown, Nick Bockwinkel, Dory Funk Jr, Matt Morgan, Diamond Dallas Page, Rob Conway, Sylvain Grenier, Buff Bagwell, Christian Cage, Jazz, The Demolition Ax and Smash Reunion, Tod Gordon, Koko B. Ware, Ricky Morton, Dustin Rhodes, Damian Demento, Ro-Z, Cpl. Kirchner, One Man Gang, Shawn Stasiak, Ted DiBiase, Ivory, Chris Masters, Elix Skipper, Kamala, Samoa Joe, Giant Bernard, Bill DeMott, Dan Severn, Juvi "Juice" Guerrera, Nora "Molly Holly" Greenwald, Nick Dinsmore, Harley Race, Bull Buchanan, Zach Gowen, Beautiful Bobby Eaton, Tracey Smothers, Idol Stevens, D-Lo Brown, Road Warrior Animal, Missing Link, Slick, Nidia, George Steele, Christy Hemme, WSX's Kevin Kleinrock, Brent Albright, Tim Horner, David Young, Ernest Miller, Sylvester Terkay, Disco Inferno, Vito, Steve Blackman, Dennis Stamp, Shawn Daivari, Kevin Sullivan, B.G. James, Ron Killings, Earl and Dave Hebner, Doug Basham, Diva Search Contestants Jessica Hatch and Taryn Terrell, Spike Dudley, Rodney Mack, Nikolai Volkoff, Larry Zybszko, and Mae Young.
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See you during the week. Be well and thanks for sharing my Insanity.