We’re in Hampton, Virginia. Hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.
LAST WEEK â<80>” We see Randall Orton Esq v Jeff Hardy for the IC title last week. The entire match is “Randy Orton low blows Jeff for the DQ”. He goes to cripple Jeff post match but Hardy fights back and Swantons him off the set in one of the year’s biggest high spots. Kinda weird they’d give that one away as a freebie. Both guys do stretcher jobs.
HD count is ON for this evening as JR mentions HD twice in the opening montage.
Shawn Michaels v Mr Kennedy
Shawn appears for the first time in HD (3 mentions). JR also happily reels off HBK’s Rumble credentials as well so we also have some wrestling factoids. Shawn had to qualify. Kennedy got given a spot courtesy of William Regal. Kennedy grabs the arm right away but Shawn counters into a facelock. Kennedy chains out back to the arm with a hammerlock. They do a weird thing where Kennedy gets faked out jumping for a leapfrog and Shawn pulls the leg away. Back to the countering on the mat and they bridge up into more countering. Kennedy starts getting aggressive with crossfaces but Shawn turns away from them to protect his face. Shawn is looking cut tonight. Is it just I’ve not seen the show in months or is it the HD? Kennedy gets a neck vice and neckbreakers him over the knee several times. Back to the crossfaces for 2. Kennedy is REALLY aggressive here. Shawn fires up and uses his chops to keep Kennedy further away then picks him off with a swinging neckbreaker. Crowd gets behind Michaels with an “HBK” chant. Shawn once again uses the chops then the flying forearm. Up he n*ps! Kennedy gets peppered with punches leaving himself staggered. Shawn has time to get up top and there’s the Savage Elbow! Looks like the band is fixing to warm up. Kennedy sees it coming and bails out but Shawn is all amped up and hits a plancha to stop him getting more distance/time. And we head into the first commercial break of the evening after 12 minutes. Why does the opening talking segment take 20 minutes with no adverts but a wrestling match doesn’t? We return with Kennedy in control and we see Shawn getting catapulted into the ring post during the break. Kennedy with the FACE WASH. Well Shawn does have a lot of fake tan on there (4 mentions, thank you JR). Shawn flip bumps in the corner and channels Nigel McGuinness with a lariat. Double down. Kennedy is up first with a jawbreaker. He wants the Mic Check but Shawn blocks it. Kennedy is cut hardway by the eyebrow. I think Shawn caught him with an elbow. To the top and Kennedy looks for a superplex. Shawn punches to the bread basket to knock Kennedy off. Another Savage Elbow but Kennedy gets KNEES UP! Shawn gets his arm hurt. SAMOAN ROLLERâ<80>¦for 2. Kennedy sees Chin Music coming again and steps back but after Shawn goes for his new submission hold again Kennedy leaves himself open and POW. Superkick! Shawn takes the win in a 20 minute opener.
Winner: Shawn Michaels via Sweet Chin Pin.
Backstage WWE Champion Randy Orton questions Mr. McMahonâ<80><99>s decision to force him and Jeff Hardy to shake hands in the ring tonight. Orton reminds Vince what happened last week and told Vince he wasnâ<80><99>t going to do it. Vince tells Orton heâ<80><99>s had to shake hands with many people he doesnâ<80><99>t like. Vince tells Orton it will give him the psychological advantage over Hardy, Vince tells him to shake Hardyâ<80><99>s hand.
Beth Phoenix v Mickie James
Mickie is the local hero and gets a big pop. She’s vowed to beat Beth tonight. She’s not beaten Beth to date. Beth overpowers and adds in knees but Mickie triangles her with the legs. Beth jacks her up looking for a powerbomb but Mickie escapes that. Beth is getting a touch unfocused allowing Mickie to get a Thesz press and a dropkick. Mickie pounds away in the corner but Beth knees her out of the ring. Beth isn’t done and runs Mickie into the apron back first. Beth decides it’s time to ground this and hooks up a neck vice. Mickie is still very spirited and gets a sneaky roll up for 2. She tries for a backslide but Beth is too strong for that. They trade on strikes and Mickie gets Beth over with a flying forearm. Mick hits a aMickiecanrana! She sure can! PRIMAL SCREAM!!! Beth counters and dumps Mickie on the ropes before jacking her up into the fisherman’s buster for the pin.
Winner: Beth Phoenix via pinfall. Ok. What was the point of making it no title and vowing Mickie will win and then putting Beth over? Like they have a tone of OTHER over, talented girls to challenge her.
BACKSTAGE Grisham interviews H’s. If he wins tonight he’s in the Rumble. He still doesn’t know his opponent (5 mentions). He says Vince is getting made up to hide all his liver spots. He says 7 Rumble winners have gone on to win the WWE title, himself included. He says he WILL be in the Rumble this Sunday. He guaran-damn-tees it.
2 WEEKS AGO â<80>” We get footage of JBL assaulting Chris Jericho. Tonight he returns.
BACKSTAGE Brian Kendrick and Cody Rhodes have a chat about the Royal Rumble. Cody says he’s got a huge opportunity. Kendrick has a qualifier tonight. He’d do anything to get into the Rumble. Hardcore Holly comes in ask Cody if he has his back tonight. Cody says he put a picture of Bob dressed as Carlito in his MySpace. “What the hell is a MySpace?” â<80>” Holly. He then threatens everyone, Cody included, to stay the hell out of HIS Space. Aww, he has no friends.
VIDEO PACKAGE â<80>” Randy Orton. An extended visual feast for fans of the champ. Oh that was in HD btw (6 mentions).
Finlay/Hornswoggle v Highlanders
Finlay starts out and chops at both Scots. The Highlanders retort with equally hard hitting. Rory drags Hornswoggle in but the midget bites his fingers and Finlay hits a lariat. Hornswoggle knocks Robbie off the apron and the Celtic Cross sets up the Tadpole Splash for the Irish to win.
Winners: Finlay & Hornswoggle via pinfall
BACKSTAGE Chris Jericho walks.
LAST WEEK â<80>” JBL complains about Jericho’s proclaiming himself a saviour. JBL cuts a promo on Jericho’s kids calling Jericho “gutless” and a “coward” after choking him out the week before.
PROMO TIME â<80>” Chris Jericho. Less sparkly attire this time around. Perhaps that means he’s a little more serious. “Y2J” â<80>” crowd. Jericho is very calm. JBL isn’t here so there’s no point calling him. Which is ironic after JBL called him a coward last week. He says JBL’s actions are those of a coward. Jericho talks about his 4 year old son’s reaction last week and JBL had planted the seeds of doubt in his son’s mind about his father. He says JBL made a huge mistake. Not choking him out. He made a mistake by not finishing what he started. Jericho says he’s still here. He talks about MSG and how its always a good show. But he’s not interested in a good show or a spectacle. He’ll be at the Royal Rumble for a fight.
Rumble card â<80>” Jericho v JBL, Flair v MVP, 30 man Rumble match, Edge v Rey Mysterio, Orton v Hardy.
BACKSTAGE Jeff Hardy stares intently at the wall. Vince McMahon is there too. He warns Jeff not to risk lives, including his own, like he did last week because he’s invested in both participants in the title match. Vince tells Jeff that shaking hands makes the crowd wonder just what Jeff is capable of. Jeff says he’ll be out there and he’ll give the crowd something to talk about.
Rumble qualifying match – Brian Kendrick v Umaga
Regal comes on the Titantron to tell Kendrick in order to qualify he has to beat a guy that’s already qualified. Hardly fair. JR tells us that Kendrick’s favourite PPV as a kid was the Rumble. So much for that dream. Umaga cuts him down a few times. Umaga charges into the buckles and Kendrick kicks and moves until Umaga recovers and jabs him with an uppercut. Tree of Woe headbutt misses. Kendrick kicks at him again but a missile dropkick doesn’t shift the big man. Neither does a leaping sidekick or an Enzuigiri. Umaga flips him up into a sweet Samoan drop. That whole sequence was awesome. Umaga has had enough and the Samoan Spike finishes.
Winner: Umaga via pinfall.
Backstage Mickie James is upset about feeling like she canâ<80><99>t beat Beth. Maria checks if Mickie is ok, she says she is. Ashley approaches them and Mickie thanks Maria for listening and leaves. Ashley and Maria start talking about Playboy, Santino Marella quickly interrupts and takes Maria away.
A sneak peak of Celebrity Apprentice featuring Mr. McMahon is shown.
At ringside King is wearing a pair of 3D glasses, apparently he is confused with 3D and HD!
A very good video package on Jeff Hardyâ<80><99>s career is shown, it highlights the best parts of his career, Jeff tells us that people have no idea what he is capable of.
BACKSTAGE H’s paces. He still doesn’t know his opponent. For some reason Lawler has 3-D glasses on. That’d be HD mention #7 folks. JR calls Jeff Hardy the “legend thriller” before we get a promo video for him too.
Carlito w/Santino Marella/Maria Kanellis v Hardcore Holly w/Cody Rhodes
Cody is such a dork. Which is interesting because Holly used to be a dork about 15 years ago. Holly starts quicker and hits a full nelson slam. JR & King use this match as an excuse to talk about other, more interesting, storylines. Holly gets beat up a bit, in HD (8 mentions), before hitting a suplex. JR name drops Carlos Colon for once. Holly with a backdrop and he tries to get the disinterested fans riled up. He goes for the finish but Marella jumps on the apron and Carlito gets the BACKSTABBER for the win.
Winner: Carlito via pinfall.
CLIPS â<80>” 2002 Rumble. H’s big comeback win. Angle is a sucker for not making sure H’s didn’t land on the floor after the backdrop.
Triple H v ???
H’s gets big crowd support. Out comes RAW GM William Regal to address Triple Haitch. He says H’s has a different match to what he was expecting. He has three opponents in an “over the top rope” gauntlet match. If H’s gets thrown out he has no Rumble future. He has to throw all the others out. First opponent isâ<80>¦SNITSKY. H’s isn’t intimidated and starts fast and hard. High knee scores. Crowd are still backing him. We get some battle royal stuff with H’s holding onto a leg and trying to lift Snitsky out. Snitsky gets out and hits a sideslam. H’s is nearly powered over the top but Snitsky charges like an idiot and crotches himself. He gets back on his feet but H’s clotheslines him over the top. Next!
Second opponent is MARK HENRY. H’s is again aggressive with punches as Henry enters and he clips him with a knee. Henry throws him into the ropes as opposed to over them. Not the brightest that chap. Backbreaker from Henry. Also this doesn’t do much to get H’s over the rope. He finally picks him up and tries to throw him out but H’s holds on. Henry misses a charge but when H’s goes to throw him out Henry just falls on top. Big question though â<80>” why charge? It only gives the smaller opponent the chance to backdrop you out. He does so AGAIN because he’s a complete R-Tard and H’s moves allowing Henry to eliminate himself.
Third opponent then is William Regal himself. He tags H’s with some wild punches before trying to throw him out. There’s no waistcoats in wrestling! H’s overpowers and hits a spinebuster and Regal is tossed out.
Winner: Triple H via Rumble rules. So H’s will be in the Royal Rumble.
Mr. McMahon makes his way to the ring, he first introduces current WWE Champion Randy Orton, followed by #1 Contender and current Intercontinental Champion, Jeff Hardy. McMahon puts over both guys and asks if anyone has any last minute words. Orton says that although Hardy will not be winning the WWE Title this Sunday, he has earnt Ortonâ<80><99>s respect for what he did last week. Hardy tells Orton he doesnâ<80><99>t care about Ortonâ<80><99>s respect and didnâ<80><99>t do what he did last week to impress him, he did it to hurt him! He says he will shake hands with anyone that he respects more than Orton, Hardy leaves the ring and shakes the hands of J.R., King and Lilian Garcia. He then goes into the crowd and shakes hands with some fans, calling ut their names as he does it. Hardy gets back in the ring and in Ortonâ<80><99>s face, Orton extends his hand but Hardy refuses to shake. Instead, Hardy gives Orton a Twist of Fate and stands over his prone body as Raw goes off airâ<80>¦