Hello again wrestling fans. Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Take on Raw is here again, and Iâ<80><99>m actually excited tonight as I write this edition for you, the readers. Why? Well, I did see some good things on Raw tonight â<80>” but I also love nearing the end of a good mystery.
The promo aired again, of course. It was a bit longer, with some actual video footage starting it off tonight. Some noteworthy changes were there, however, thus I begin my Take tonight with them.
– SAVE_US.222 has changed â<80>” it is now SAVE_US.229.
– Although when watched slowly a reference is there again to REV_22:12, what is believed to be Revelation 22:12, more dominant tonight was REV_2:25, the verse referenced above.
– 2 ND_COMING appeared again, but the most notable part was near the end, when UPON_US could be seen.
Again, we ask â<80>” what is the Matrix? As promised earlier, I did take the red pill. Unfortunately it was only a multivitamin and didnâ<80><99>t clear anything up as far as this goes. Is it Y2J as many have speculated? With UPON_US thrown into the mix, one can assume that the answer is near. I will say this much, after watching tonightâ<80><99>s bit a few times and comparing; there are some similarities between the video bits shown at the beginning and the Titantron entrance video of a certain first undisputed champion!
Now that thatâ<80><99>s covered â<80>” on to the show!
Tonight, the WWE Champion Randy Orton opened his mouth and, in return, got a small taste of what HHH went through at No Mercy. Ok, it wasnâ<80><99>t nearly as bad as what HHH went through â<80>” but thus is the difference between PPV and what we watch every week.
RKO meets with Raw GM William Regal and tells him that he thinks his Cyber Sunday match should be in Regalâ<80><99>s hands rather than the fansâ<80><99>. Nevertheless, he says heâ<80><99>s ready to compete tonight and wants a â<80><9c>tune-up matchâ<80> while also recommending a triple-threat match between his possible Cyber Sunday opponents, Jeff Hardy, Mr. Kennedy and Shawn Michaels.
Unfortunately for Orton, Regal has something else in mind and puts the Champ in three matches tonight, one for each of his possible opponents. The first starts right away with Orton taking on Hardy.
(And, by the way, itâ<80><99>s amazing how much more popular Regal is in England, eh chaps?)
The match started with some standard lock-ups and arm drags, with Hardy getting the upper hand when he clotheslined RKO over the top rope and quickly followed up with a baseball-slide kick (if you can call it that while still in the air) and a dive over the top rope to lay Orton out at ringside.
Of course, a lot can happen during a commercial break, and following this one RKO has Hardy down in the middle of the ring. Hardy fights up, but a power slam from Orton gives him a near fall. Orton starts his stomps on Hardy, drops a knee to the sternum, and gets another near fall. Hardy fights back, however, and hits the Whisper in the Wind.
Just when it appears Hardy has the match in hand, Mr. Kennedy runs out and distracts Hardy who, after having climbed to the top turnbuckle, gets racked by Orton. One RKO later and Orton picks up the win. A stare-down ensues between Kennedy and Orton as Kennedy motions that he wants that title around his waist.
Later, we have Kennedy facing Orton for the Champâ<80><99>s second match of the night. As the pair trade locks, a few â<80><9c>Kennedyâ<80> shouts could be heard in the crowd. It wasnâ<80><99>t much help, however, as Orton got the upper hand with some clubbing blows to Kennedy. Mr. K would fight his way out of a corner only to get a thumb to the eye for his troubles. He did get a near fall after sidestepping one of Ortonâ<80><99>s standing drop kicks.
Kennedy nails Orton with right hands, but a blow to the midsection slows him down long enough for Orton to drop him with a pair of uppercuts. Orton then starts in with his stomps, but Kennedy retaliates by grabbing RKO by the trunks and sending him into the second turnbuckle and a near fall.
Orton next would hit an inverted backbreaker, but Kennedy quickly recovered, picked Orton up and nailed a Green Bay Plunge from mat level. Unfortunately for Kennedy, however, Hardy was itching for some payback and hit a Swanton Bomb, ending the match. Orton then charged after Hardy, who promptly pulled the top rope sending the Champ sprawling to the floor.
As Orton retreats, itâ<80><99>s Hardyâ<80><99>s turn to motion that he wants the gold around his waist.
Move ahead once more in my amazing Technicolor time machine and itâ<80><99>s time for Ortonâ<80><99>s third match against the man who returned last week, HBK.
The Heartbreak Kid looked to have lots of fun playing to the crowd as he entered, but turned deadly serious when Ortonâ<80><99>s music hit, staring him down all the way to the ring.
This one started with a fury of blows from both competitors, with HBK getting the upper hand quickly. RKO escaped to the outside only to be pursued by Michaels who continued the attack then threw the Champ back into the ring. HBK rolled RKO up for a near fall, and then started with some knife-edge chops.
* Insert crowd noise here â<80>” â<80><9c>Whooo!!!!â<80> â<80>” Refer to last weekâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches editorial. *
The Showstopper got another near fall in before Orton puts him down with an elbow and leaps on to HBK to start nailing some punches. He then set Michaels up on the top turnbuckle for a superplex, but a few punches from HBK put an end to that and Orton hit the mat. Michaels then climbed up and nailed his flying elbow on the Champ.
Michaels does his nutso-flopping-around-Iâ<80><99>ve-had-too-much-caffeine taunting of Orton for a few moments, but as the show ends we see HBK sitting in the corner staring at the laid-out Orton with a sadistic grin on his face.
It goes without saying that WWE is pumping up HBK as Ortonâ<80><99>s Cyber Sunday opponent, and as fans usually go it seems certain that the returning favorite would be the one to get the shot. However, strange things have happened recently when it comes to online polls. After all, as I recall, Val Venis was the leading vote-getter prior to No Mercy as to who fans thought should get the WWE Championship. (No offense, Val.)
That being said, this is one rivalry that can be thoroughly enjoyed on the road to the next PPV. At a time when star power has been an issue, itâ<80><99>s nice to see a storyline that can involve such powerful names in the ring. We all know what Hardy, HBK and Orton are capable of, and although familiar with Kennedy I think weâ<80><99>ll see more gold on him in the future as well.
The writers have my attention, and Iâ<80><99>m enjoying it. My only hope through this is that through the end of this story, they continue to play Hardy and Kennedy up as the main-eventers fans know they can be.
Sorry to all you Santino Marella fans out there, but my first Downsider has to go to his match against Val Venis. It was a bore with nothing impressive, and ended with Marella getting the pin while holding the ropes. The only thing impressive to me during this segment was Maria. Sporting a bit of a different look from her norm, but as Ron Simmons would say â<80>” DAMN!
Also gotta throw Coach and Hornswoggle into the Downsiders tonight. The evening was filled with segments of Coach chasing the Little Bastard through the building and ended with a bit right out of Looney Tunes. Hornswoggle escaped Coach by heading under the ring, and Coach was ready with an Acme detonator that, in a flashback of that coyoteâ<80><99>s exploits, didnâ<80><99>t work. When Coach headed under to see what the problem was, Lilâ<80><99> Horny was out and hit the detonator himself resulting in a pathetic explosion effect that left Coach blackened.
Really, guys, I am guilty of giving some kudos for getting a few laughs out of me with the whole Hornswoggle bit. But the only thing missing from tonightâ<80><99>s exploits was the sound of â<80><9c>Yakety Saxâ<80> playing in the background.
I was also generally unimpressed with the Divas match tonight featuring Jillian Hall and Candice Michelle. First of all, letâ<80><99>s drop the pathetic tone-deaf singer bit and find something else for Jillian to do. Havenâ<80><99>t you poked fun at Brooke Hogan enough? Then the match was over within, perhaps, 30 seconds at best.
Hopefully they do better in the upcoming title rematch between Michelle and Beth Phoenix.
This one will probably get some e-mails, but Iâ<80><99>m giving tonightâ<80><99>s High-fliers distinction to Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly. This was the third match between the two as Rhodes continues to try and earn Hollyâ<80><99>s respect.
It started in the locker room with Holly confronting Rhodes, basically telling him that he just didnâ<80><99>t get why Rhodes kept coming back for more. Rhodes tells Holly he can beat him and he can earn his respect. Holly responds by saying tonight may be his last chance and that he wants to see him fired up out there tonight, then slaps the living hell out of Rhodes who now looks infuriated. â<80><9c>Now thatâ<80><99>s the look Iâ<80><99>m looking for,â<80> Holly said afterwards.
The match started with Rhodes getting the upper hand, still fired up and showing it with some blows and a shoulder block to put Holly down. Hardcore threw Rhodes over the top, but he hung on and pulled himself back over. He was quickly put down by Holly, however, who then commenced with some chopping in the corner on the rookie.
Rhodes did fight his way free of a first attempt at an Alabama slam and got a series of near fall after near fall in a variety of pinning attempts. Holly again proved to be too much in the end, getting the second Alabama slam attempt, but was nodding at Rhodes as he left the ring.
Looks to me like the kid finally earned the veteranâ<80><99>s respect.
In reality, the series of matches between these two have been good for Rhodes. It was evident in this match that he is becoming more fluid in the ring, and I think Holly has done a good job helping bring Rhodes along. Word has it that these two may be teaming up in the near future, and Iâ<80><99>m looking forward to seeing the pair continue working together.
– Our favorite Chairman of the Board came out tonight mainly to pump up Umaga vs. HHH at Cyber Sunday. Some poor sap (Andy Simmons, who admitted to VKM that he was scared prior to his match) became Umagaâ<80><99>s next victim as Vince introduces the match as a street fight, one of the options for Umaga vs. HHH at the PPV. Well, some quick destruction and a Samoan Drop into a steel chair and Umaga wins.
– Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch were guests of King and J.R. as they watched Rory McAllister of The Highlanders take on Brian Kendrick. We got to see a taste of the fast-paced offense here, but not much as Rory mostly overpowered Kendrick here. Just when Kendrick seemed to get the upper hand, Robbie served as a distraction and Rory hit a reverse suplex for the win.
– HBK did a decent promo before his match. He warned Orton that every time he turned around, heâ<80><99>d be there, and focused on his new hobby of kicking Ortonâ<80><99>s teeth down his throat.
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to email@example.com … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in the weekly editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches (found in the editorial section). Remember, short ones are good, long ones may be cut, and keep the name of the column in mind when you come looking for answers!