Monday Night Raw – January 4, 2010: The Mediocrity Of Exection
Date: January 4, 2010
Location: Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler
A few weeks back I took another look at TNA’s Monday night debut and figured I should do the same with this famous episode of Raw. Then it turned out that I never did this show in the first place so this is going to be completely fresh. This episode centers around Bret Hart returning for the first time since the Montreal Screwjob over twelve years ago, so I think the crowd might be a bit excited. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long video on Bret’s career, of course focusing on Montreal and the huge shock that he’s actually back tonight.
We waste no time as here’s Bret to open things up. Bret soaks it in for a bit before saying that a lot of people are surely wondering why he came back. He’s been trying for years but every time Vince has told him it’s not the right time. Bret is thrilled to be back to be able to talk to the WWE Universe, earning him a welcome back chant. Above all else, Bret wants to thank the people for never forgetting him. He owes every bit of his success to the fans and there are millions of memories coming back to him right here. Back in 1993 he won the first King of the Ring right here in this building…..and then Jerry Lawler jumped him.
That’s ok though, because there’s something Bret needs to take care of. Therefore, he’d like Shawn Michaels to come out here right now. Shawn comes out looking very nervous. Bret wants to bury the hatchet though and call a truce to this whole thing. Shawn sounds a bit annoyed though and has something he’s been waiting twelve years to say to Bret: he deserved what happened in Montreal. Bret disrespected him and the title so Vince did what he had to do that night.
There’s a part of Shawn that doesn’t regret it, but there’s another part of him that knows a lot has changed in the last twelve years. Shawn always respected Bret, but he wasn’t sure Bret respected him. He couldn’t stand Bret at times, but when he thinks of him, he thinks of Anaheim and the 60 minute Iron Man match that they were told no one wanted to see. But the two of them redefined this industry and gave the fans something special.
Shawn is ready to move on too and asks Bret if he’s ready. Bret thinks it’s time to end this right here in Dayton and they finally shake hands. Shawn goes to leave but comes back and hugs Bret to a nice ovation. Now Shawn leaves but Bret isn’t done yet. He wants Vince McMahon out here RIGHT NOW but there’s no boss in sight. This was an historic moment but much more symbolic than anything else.
Josh Matthews is waiting outside Vince’s office but the boss says no one calls him out. If Bret wants to have a public discussion, they can have it on his terms later tonight.
Melina has torn her ACL and has to vacate the Divas Title. Tournament time!
Divas Title Tournament First Round: Maryse vs. Brie Bella
This is before Nikki’s surgery so they’re still identical. Maryse easily shoves her into the ropes to start and poses, only to have Brie toss her down by the hair. Back up and Brie hits a running dropkick to send Maryse outside, allowing Nikki to get in a few cheap shots. Maryse runs Brie over back inside but the Bellas switch, only to have Maryse plant her with the French Kiss DDT for a fast win.
Maryse leaves when US Champion Miz comes out to say if she wins the tournament, he might call her back. She’s called this the year of Maryse but Miz declares this his decade. Maryse looks very pleased.
MVP vs. Jack Swagger vs. Carlito vs. Mark Henry
Winner gets a US Title shot and Miz is on commentary. We don’t see Carlito or Henry’s entrances as they come out during the break. The match is joined in progress with Henry down on the floor with Swagger suplexing Carlito for two. A belly to belly gets two on MVP with Carlito making the save.
Jack splashes Carlito in the corner but Henry comes back in to clean house. He slaps a bearhug on Carlito but Swagger makes a fast save. That’s fine with Henry who puts Swagger in a fireman’s carry rack (not all that effective) when MVP makes a save of his own. MVP sends Henry and Carlito outside, followed by the Playmaker on Swagger for the pin and the title shot.
Rating: D+. Not much to see here due to the time but they actually had a bit of a story going. MVP got the win far faster than he should have been able to but at least it wasn’t horrible while it lasted. I’m still not sure how much the Playmaker would actually hurt though as it’s basically just a swinging neckbreaker.
Jericho and Big Show have a meeting before their Tag Team Title shot. If Jericho loses, he’s off Raw but he has an idea for Bret.
After a break, Jericho comes in to see Bret and mentions learning the Walls by practicing on Bret’s brother Keith. The big idea is that Bret should be the guest referee during the title match tonight when Jericho and Big Show challenge DX. Jericho thinks Bret can get his revenge on Shawn and call the bell in a hurry but Bret wants to keep the controversy behind him. Bret: “I don’t want to be like you.” Also, he remembers Jericho screaming louder than anyone else in the Dungeon.
Hornswoggle is with HHH and it’s time to schill toys. Shawn comes in and says it’s time for their match when Santino comes in dressed as Jericho, claiming a conspiracy. HHH has Horny attack Santino before talking with Shawn about the match as the two scream in the background. DX heads off for their match with HHH whistling like a dog to get Hornswoggle to come with him. Horny leaves for a cookie.
Tag Team Titles: D-Generation X vs. Chris Jericho/Big Show
DX is defending and Jericho’s job is at stake. Horny is crawling around at ringside because he’s a pest. Show tosses Shawn into the corner to start but Michaels ducks a chop and hits some of his own. HHH comes in but Show suplexes both of them with ease as we take an early break. Back with Jericho knocking HHH down and walking around a lot.
A side slam from Big Show drops HHH as well before he just walks over the Game’s stomach. Now it’s Show’s turn to walk around and waste time before it’s off to Jericho for the Hogan hand to the ear. Chris hooks a chinlock for a bit before HHH comes back with a spinebuster to put both guys down. Show comes in to break up the tag but misses a Vader Bomb. Now the hot tag brings in Shawn to hammer on Big Show, nip up a lot, then hammer on him again. He knocks Show down for the top rope elbow but Jericho crotches him down. Horny comes in to sit on Show, which thankfully has no effect.
Sweet Chin Music is countered into a chokeslam for two but Jericho comes in with the Walls, only to have Shawn kick away. The Pedigree plants Jericho but it’s Show making a save. HHH breaks up another chokeslam attempt and dropping the big man with the Pedigree, only to have Big Show roll outside. Jericho rolls up HHH for two before knocking him silly with a Codebreaker. A very delayed cover gets two but Hornswoggle comes in again, only to get kicked in the face by Jericho. The distraction lets Shawn superkick him down for the pin to retain.
Rating: B-. Good match here, especially due to having Hornswoggle get kicked in the face. Jericho losing the big one is as classic as you’re going to get with him and there was no way DX was losing the titles just a month after winning them in the first place. Jericho and Big Show were never a long term thing anyway so splitting them here is fine.
HHH says that’s bye bye for Jericho and if Chris isn’t down with that, they have two words for him. Big Show walks off, leaving Jericho to face the Goodbye Song. He would be Smackdown Champion next month.
Orton comes in to see Vince and has a business deal for him. Vince isn’t interested because of all the horrible things Orton did to his family, which he says were far worse than what Bret did in 1997. Orton’s idea: he’ll punt Bret in exchange for being #30 in the Royal Rumble. The boss isn’t interested and throws Orton out. The camera stays on Randy when he runs into Legacy. If Orton loses tonight, they’re going to throw him out and beat him up.
Mike Tyson is guest host next week.
We recap Sheamus getting himself disqualified to save his title against Cena last week.
Here’s Sheamus with something to say. He talks about beating Cena last week when everyone said he couldn’t, so his next title defense at the Royal Rumble will not be against Cena. Sheamus wants a new challenge so cue Evan Bourne who says he wants an opportunity. That’s fine with Sheamus, who says if Evan wins here, he gets a title shot at the Rumble.
Evan Bourne vs. Sheamus
Bourne hammers away to start and nails a kick from the apron, followed by Air Bourne less than a minute in. Sheamus powers him out to the floor on the kickout and catches Evan in a fall away slam. The fans chant for Cena but get a Brogue Kick to Evan’s head, setting up the High Cross (Razor’s Edge) for the pin.
We get a nice tribute to Dr. Death Steve Williams who recently passed away due to throat cancer at 49.
Same Bret video that opened the show.
Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
This is the last match in a good feud between the two and Legacy is at ringside. Kofi is in the serious black attire here. An early headlock and shoulder give Orton an early advantage but he eats an elbow to the jaw. Kofi sends him outside for a baseball slide before countering the Elevated DDT into a backdrop to put Orton outside again as we take a break.
Back with Orton holding a chinlock before stomping on the ribs for good measure. He talks a lot of trash and stands around a bit more before sending Kofi chest first into the buckle. A catapult sends Kofi throat first into the bottom rope for two and it’s back to the chinlock. Kofi finally comes back but a double cross body puts both guys down. It’s Kingston up first and winning a brief slugout to set up the Boom Drop. A high cross body gets two and the SOS is good for the same. Trouble in Paradise is mostly blocked and a quick RKO gives Orton the pin.
Rating: C+. Another decent match between them but Kofi’s big moment had already come and gone. He’s never reached this high of a level again, even though he seemed ready to burst through the ceiling to the next level. Orton absorbing the kick and RKOing him for the pin pretty much killed him dead though.
Legacy doesn’t seem to care.
Here’s Vince to call out Bret. He wishes us a happy New Year but doesn’t think he needs to call Hart out. The Montreal Screwjob is buried and he considers his issues with Bret to be the same. Vince hypes up Mike Tyson appearing next week when Bret comes out without music. The boss thinks the fans want Montreal to be forgotten, but Vince will never forget Bret spitting on him and then disrespecting him when Bret was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He’d like to hear what Bret has to say, but it better start with “I’m sorry.”
That’s not what Bret has in mind though. He’s here to bury the hatchet tonight and he’s halfway there. Bret knows Vince wants this just as much as he does, but Vince says he wants to kick Bret in the guts. He remembers Bret in the Wrestlemania II battle royal and knew that he was going to be the future then and there.
That brings him to Bret’s dad Stu, who brought a lot of people into the business. Vince wants to put Stu in the Hall of Fame and Bret likes the idea. He thanks Vince for it but Vince says it’s time to thank Bret for everything he’s done over the years. They shake hands and Vince kicks Bret low to end the show. This led to a Wrestlemania match that I still think was done well.
Overall Rating: C-. On the other hand, this show wasn’t done all that well. They knew TNA was having their big night here so the reaction seemed to be to keep things the same other than Bret. There really wasn’t anything important here aside from that, with even Cena not showing up. It’s not the worst show ever but it comes and goes with nothing else standing out.
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