The SmarK Rant for WWE Bragging Rights 2009

The SmarK Rant for WWE Bragging Rights 2009

– Live from Pittsburgh, PA.

– Your hosts are Michael & Jerry & Todd

– So apparently the winner of the metaphorical bragging rights gets an actual trophy. Really? In 2009?

The Miz v. John Morrison

You’ve gotta feel a little bit bad for Marty Jannetty, having been turned into even more of a punchline than he was before. Morrison rides him down to start and controls with an armbar for two. Shoulderblock gets two. Miz bails and heads back in for a side headlock. Morrison escapes with a pancake and gets the standing moonsault for two. Miz hammers away and tosses him, but Morrison comes back in with a sunset flip for two. Rollup gets two. They fight over a backslide, but Morrison clotheslines Miz to the floor instead and follows with a baseball slide. Glad we missed that because of the director showing the locker rooms watching the match. Morrison goes for a flying headscissors and gets dumped to the floor, and back in Miz gets a backdrop suplex for two and takes over. Morrison slugs back, but Miz clotheslines him in the corner and adds a kneelift for two. We hit the chinlock, but Morrison rolls him up for two. Another rollup gets two. They slug it out and Morrison wins with a legsweep and adds a leg lariat for two. Shining Wizard misses and Miz rolls him up for two. Morrison with the Moonlight Drive for two, but Miz bails to escape Starship Pain. Morrison hits him with a plancha instead, and that gets two. Morrison puts him on top, but Miz hits him with a double axehandle. Morrison comes back with a Russian legsweep and goes to finish, but Miz knocks him down and pins him at 10:55. The announcers were all "The winner of this is the conquering hero who hit the home run!" and stuff, but the crowd wasn’t really into it. They really need to better inform the crowds when it’s the most important PPV of the year, because otherwise people just think for themselves. Match was fine, as they have good chemistry. ***

Michelle McCool, Natalya & Beth Phoenix v. Melina, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim

Kim starts with Phoenix and gets a rollup out of a slam attempt for two, so McCool tags herself in. That goes nowhere, so Natalya comes in and slams Kim. Gail gets a kneelift off the apron and it’s over to the RAW side, where Kelly gets a Nash choke in the corner, but gets dropped on the top rope for two. The Smackdown team works Kelly over in the corner and Phoenix gets a snapmare for two. Kelly plays face in peril and McCool throws knees, but Beth comes in and gets rolled up for two. Hot tag Melina and she faceplants Phoenix and gets a small package, but McCool turns them over for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Beth finishes Melina with the Glam Slam at 6:51. Totally watchable. **1/2

Meanwhile, D-X tries to rally the troops, inadvertently insulting everyone on the team ("And we exposed this guy as a fake Jamaican!") but still getting the solidarity desired.

Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Batista v. CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio

Punk declaring "It’s clobbering time!" on the ramp is pretty awesome. Batista chases Punk to start, and walks right into Undertaker’s punch. Punk hammers on UT in the corner, and that’s an epic fail as Taker tosses him into a Mysterio dive from the apron. Rey dropkicks Taker out of the ring, but walks into a boot. Taker goes to work on Batista with Old School, but Punk prevents a second attempt and fights on the top rope with UT. He manages a superplex and Rey springboards in for two. Batista beats on Punk and adds a powerslam, but Taker puts him down with a big boot. Rey tries diving in with a rana, but Taker counters to the Last Ride, and Batista spears UT out of that. Rey and Batista argue over who gets to cover, but Taker pops up, so Rey gets the 619 on Taker, into Batista’s spinebuster for two. Rey goes up again and gets caught by Punk with GTS for two. Batista goes after Taker and gets caught in the gogoplata, but Punk breaks that up and hits the running knee on Taker. That leads to the Last Ride for two. Taker and Batista slug it out and Batista gets chokeslammed for two. Punk goes after Taker and gets tossed, leaving UT to finish Batista, but Batista counters with the Batista bomb for two. Rey breaks it up and gets two, and there’s your heel turn for Batista. Unfortunately, Batista gets so distracted by the dark side of the Force that a chokeslam from Undertaker gets two. They clothesline each other and Punk gets two on both of them. Rey comes back in and Batista tosses him, but Undertaker finishes Batista with the tombstone at 9:56 to retain. Well that was fast-paced, to say the least. I liked all the crazy finishers for the first 8 minutes or so, but it kind of fell apart once Batista turned. Needed to go to the finish as soon as Batista nailed Rey, but it was really entertaining otherwise. ***1/4

Afterwards, Josh interviews Rey & Batista, and Rey is all "Well, we did our best", and Batista attacks him again to really drive the point home. And people CHEER him. Well, that was a pretty awesome heel turn with some good menace from Batista ("I’m not playing. I’m gonna rip your head off.") so you can hardly blame them. And a really good, high quality heel turn with solid motivation has been lacking for a while now, so good on them.

Bragging Rights Trophy final: HHH, Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes & Kofi Kingston v. Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth, DH Smith & Tyson Kidd

Once again the announcers lie about RAW being the "longest running episodic show in TV history," which it’s not. The Simpsons and Law & Order have been running longer than RAW, and 60 Minutes has not only run longer but has produced more episodes. Rhodes and Truth do some brawling to start, but Cody tags out to Show. So we get Show v. Kane instead, and Show puts him down and follows with a legdrop for two. Swagger comes in and gets in Kane’s face, and that proves to be a bad idea. The Smackdown side beats on Swagger in the corner, and Hardy gets a clothesline for two. Swagger charges and hits boot, and Matt follows with the yodeling legdrop for two. To the floor, where Hardy clotheslines him, and we get our first RAW v. Smackdown standoff. Matt gets caught in the RAW corner and Henry tosses him around, then Shawn works on the arm until Matt hits a Side Effect. Over to Finlay, who whips Shawn into the corner for a Flair Flip, but they collide for the double KO. Shawn recovers first with the superkick, but the Hart Dynasty sneaks in with a Hart Attack to keep Shawn in the corner. And it’s Jericho time, as he goes to a chinlock.

Cole, while talking about Big Show: "Big Show there, looking at his partner. Well, no partners tonight!" Except for the six partners on his team, I guess. Kane comes in with a seated dropkick for two. Grisham accidentally calls the Hart Dynasty "The Hart Foundation" and MICHAEL COLE makes fun of him for saying something stupid. Buh-zing. Smith comes in with a backdrop suplex on Shawn for two. Kidd slingshots in with an elbow, but misses, and it’s hot tag HHH. He runs wild on the Harts and hits everyone with spinebusters, but Kane chokeslams him. Kidd gets two off that. Jericho with a bulldog, but the Lionsault misses and Kofi comes in. Jericho counters the, uh, Boom Drop into a Liontamer attempt, but Kofi rolls him up for two. Trouble in Ghana gets two and it’s breaking loose in Tulsa again, as everyone does their wacky finishers. Kofi looks to finish, but Big Show turns on him, revealing that his alliance to the World tag team titles is more important than a meaningless trophy. I’m shocked, I don’t know about you. Jericho pins Kofi at 15:31 to give Smackdown the trophy. Sadly, no one smashes it. Too short to give everyone any kind of time in the match, but it was another good fast-paced match for the night. ***1/2

RAW World title, Iron Man match: Randy Orton v. John Cena

Cena with the headlock to start, and Orton also goes that route. Cena fights out and Orton sends him into the corner and Cena tries a bulldog, but Orton counters that and stomps the back. Cena takes him down with an STF out of nowhere, however, and Orton taps out at 3:55. Cena is 1-0. Smart booking there, as Orton tapped immediately rather than let himself get injured.

30 second rest period follows, and Orton charges in with a powerslam, then chokes away on the ropes. Suplex gets two. Orton goes to the CHINLOCK OF DOOM, but Cena escapes with the Throwback and goes up for the legdrop. Five knuckle shuffle is countered with the RKO, and we’re tied 1-1 at 9:00.

Cena bails to the apron and Orton sends him into the railing, then clears the announce table and nails Cena with the monitor. That gets two. You know, it’s 2009, they should really have switched to LCD monitors by now. Orton brings the microphone into the ring and puts Cena down for two. And Cena is BLEEDING. Holy shit, that’s only the second time this year someone has done that. They want to check the cut, but Cena is too angry and tosses Orton, before getting sent into the stairs himself. Orton gets two off that. Orton stomps Cena’s head on the stairs and gets two. Back in, Orton slugs away while the announcers talk about how the doctors might have to stop the match because of Cena’s cut. C’mon, Jerry Lawler would bleed more than that during his PROMOS, why would he ever say something like that? This TV-PG shit is fucking stupid. Cena comes back with the Shuffle and FU, but Orton counters to an RKO in mid-air and both are down and out. So the ref counts them both out at 17:00 to make it 2-2. Well that’s kind of a pointless fall, although it does save Orton from going down 2-1, so I guess it makes sense in that regard. I retract my criticism.

They fight to the top rope and Cena gets the FU off the top, for the pin to go up 3-2 at 19:38. And Legacy runs in for the beatdown, because why not? It’s no DQ anyway. After the 30 second rest period, Orton pins Cena at 20:55 to make it 3-3. Kofi Kingston chases Legacy away to explain their departure.

They brawl to the stage and Orton rams Cena into the pyro table, which sets off an explosion on the ramp. That seems to inspire him, so he throws Cena into the lighting grid for more silly special effects, and that makes it 4-3 Orton at 25:33. Orton continues to play with the pyro board, which has GOT to be setting something up, and indeed he puts Cena down with a chair and drags him over the pyro and then threatens to BLOW HIM UP REAL GOOD. Sadly, it doesn’t work, because it would have been the most over-the-top retardedly awesome finish in wrestling history. So with that devious plan foiled, they fight back to ringside as Jerry Lawler has to say with a serious inflection "Guys, Randy Orton’s intentions were to blow up John Cena." I can’t even type that without cracking up. Was he going to ask for ONE…BILLION…DOLLARS first? Was his next step the sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads? They’ve crossed the line from wrestling into Austin Powers, folks. Anyway, Orton hits Cena with the stairs for two, then a chair for two. Back in, Cena gets the cradle out of nowhere for the pin at 33:00 to make it 4-4. Orton tries to beat up Cena during the rest period, and the ref is like "You’ve gotta give him 30 seconds!" Are you kidding? You’re gonna tell that to the guy who tried to murder someone with a PYRO BOARD?

So Orton gives him the 30 seconds, then drags him to the apron and DDTs him to the floor to make it 5-4 at 35:15. After the rest period, he covers again and gets two. Back into the ring for the Garvin Stomp, which gets two. Orton slugs him down for two. Very slowly. Cena suddenly makes the comeback, rapidly shifting as usual between playing a corpse and moving planets as Superman, and Orton bails to think the situation over. Lawler thinks that 19:00 is too long for Orton to stall, but that never stopped Larry Zbyszko before. They slug it out on the ramp and then Orton runs all the way back to the ring again to waste more time. So back into the ring, Orton attacks and pounds away on the mat, then tries his DDT, but Cena reverses out and Orton bails again. Into the crowd this time for the time-wasting brawl, as Cena sends Orton down the stairs and back to ringside again for two. Into the stairs for two. Nice visual as he tosses Orton through the timekeeper’s barricade, then hits him with the STEEL steps. Then he stops to prep the table, and sets up the stairs next to it. That seems like an oddly specific plan for revenge. As it turns out, he carries Orton up the stairs on his back and puts him through the table with the FU. That ties it up at 5-5 at 51:00.

Cena brings another table into the ring and puts Orton’s lifeless body on it, but then goes up and tries a flying splash. That backfires on him, of course, and they slug it out from their knees as the crowd boos Cena’s comeback. The ref is bumped and Orton gets the RKO, but it only gets two, even with Charles Robinson sprinting in. Oh no, I said a referee’s name, I hope Vince doesn’t sue me or yell in my headset. Orton gets rid of that ref and stops to talk to the voices in his head, but misses the PUNT OF DOOM and gets caught in the STF. He holds on for nearly a minute, but taps at 1:00:00 to give Cena the belt back. I liked the Hell in a Cell match better, actually, as I found this even more slow and plodding than usual for an Orton match and couldn’t take it seriously after Orton tried to kill him with fireworks. I don’t get where some people are getting "All time classic" from at all. ***1/4

The Pulse:

A good show with yet another in the endless series of World title changes that mean nothing. Nothing bad and all good matches means an easy thumbs up, but this is nothing I’m ever going to go back and watch again. I’m relieved to know, however, that Randy Orton has a secure spot as a supervillain in his future should the wrestling thing not work out for him.

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