The Way Too Long Review of WWE Bragging Rights 2009

I’m officially suffering from what is medically known as Hulk Hogan Fatigue.  The review is coming, but I need to cleanse the palette a little.  Thus, Bragging Rights.  When the main event of this show was announced, I nearly got to the point where I was legitimately ill.  But from what I heard, it’s not too bad.  Hell, I sat through Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart… twice… this won’t be so bad, will it?  Right?  Huh?

As a heads-up, the Jeff Hardy DVD that’s coming out likely won’t be reviewed by me any time in the near future.  Following this I have to finish off the Hulk Hogan set, and then I have to begin work on the Top Ten News Stories of the Decade as a special feature for Inside Pulse that likely will also be used in an upcoming issue of the Wrestling Press Magazine.  That feature will run over the course of ten days in December.  The original list was voted on by the writers of the Pulse, but after discussing it with some of my readers plus the users of Scott Keith’s blog, I’ve decided to officially trash the list the Pulse voted on and come up with one of my own.  This will be a really fun read that at times might be funny, and at times very serious.  I’ve had a lot of requests to do columns in my Way Too Long style for stuff other then DVD reviews, and these ten articles should be what those people (and shockingly, there have been quite a few) have been looking for.

October 25, 2009 from Pittsburgh.  A city that, if nothing else, knows how to bribe Super Bowl officials to make sure games against Seattle-based teams go their way.

Years later and I still won’t let that go.  Oh well, at least the Trailblazers look like they’re going to have a good season.

-The brand that wins the Raw vs. Smackdown bragging rights challenge thingy tonight gets a trophy.  And it’s the most generic, cheap looking trophy possible.  I’m sure that about five whole seconds of thought went into this thing.  I have 3rd place bowling trophies that look nicer.  And those trophies have a little bowler on them.  This trophy doesn’t have a wrestler or anything.  It’s just a big silver cup with a cheap Bragging Rights sticker glued to the base of it.  Shouldn’t a silver cup be given to wrestlers to celebrate passing wellness tests or something?

Yeah I know.  The only person who would win one is CM Punk.  Then someone would get jealous and dump cocaine into his Pepsi.  For the record, that wouldn’t make him any less straight-edge.  Since they used to put cocaine in colas, that would just make him incredibly retro.

-Jim Ross’ face once again collapsed faster then the Smackdown main event scene, so he gets replaced by Todd Grisham.  Squint really hard and run his voice through a filter and you can’t tell the difference.

Match #1
The Miz vs. John Morrison

I have to say that it’s really annoying to not only have the ring be half colored red and half colored blue, but to also have the lights on the seating be half red and half blue as well.  Then again, I bet it was even more annoying for those in attendance.  We start with a lock-up, and then Morrison gets a waistlock takedown.  Miz struggles and gets to the ropes.  Another takedown by Morrison but he gets shot off and gets a fireman’s carry for two.  Shoot-off by the Miz but he eats a couple shoulderblocks for two.  This is actually looking pretty bad thus far and Miz bails to grab a breather.  Back in where the Miz kicks John and fires off a headlock takeover for one.  Shoot-off and Miz gets a shoulderblock, then bounces off the ropes into a single-arm takedown from Morrison.  Nip-up and a standing shooting star press for two.  Miz fights back and stomps Morrison into the corner, then dumps him between the ropes.  Miz has an arrogant celebration, and then tries to drag Morrison back in, where he gets caught in a small sunset flip for two.  Jack-knife cover gets two.  A sloppy sequence sees them fight over a backslide but nothing comes of it.  Miz goes for a knee lift but Morrison counters and goes for a neckbreaker.  Miz escapes that but immediately gets dumped to the floor.  We cut to shots of the various locker rooms watching the match on a monitor.  Yes, we paid to watch people watch a wrestling match.  The squint-O-vision is even worse then an instant replay, so naturally we miss Morrison hit a flying dropkick between the ropes and onto Miz.  Back in, that gets two but we don’t see that either because now it’s time to watch the Smackdown roster look bored.  Morrison gets reversed to the corner and then gets dumped to the floor while going for a headscissors.  Nasty bump there.  Back in, Miz gets a sideslam for two.  Weak looking windmill by Miz, which only serves to allow Morrison to flip through with a kick.  Miz gets Morrison into the corner and hits his diving clothesline.  Miz gets on the floor to knee-lift Morrison in the face for two.  And now to a chinlock.  Morrison escapes and gets a schoolboy for two.  Roll-up for two.  They trade various brawling moves, ending with a big spin kick by Morrison.  Clothesline and a dropkick by Morrison gets two.  Running kick to the seated Miz is ducked and Miz gets a cover for two.  Mounted punches by Morrison and then we’re back to being all sloppy.  Morrison misses something in the corner, then Miz trips while going for a clothesline and John hits the chop-kick for two.  Morrison goes for the Starship Pain but Miz bails.  Corkscrew plancha by Morrison which he nearly shorts.  Back in, it gets two.  Some fans are trying to get a “This is awesome!” chant going, which is what TNA is famous for.  Considering the quality of this match and your average TNA match that gets said chant before the damn thing even begins, maybe the “This is Awesome!” chant is meant to be sarcastic.  I never even considered that.  Miz fights off Morrison in the corner and drops a sledge on him.  Miz goes for the SCF but Morrison turns it into a Russian leg sweep.  Morrison springs up the ropes for Starship Pain but Miz shoves him down, which is somehow enough to knock Morrison out and Miz covers for the pin.  Ugh, lame finish.
*1/4 Crappy match.  Very sloppy, lacking any semblance of structure or psychology.  Huge disappointment.  This would have been a letdown if it had been on Raw or Smackdown.

-Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes jaws with R-Truth, who asserts that the only reason Cody is in the WWE is because of his father.  Considering that I actually like Cody and detest R-Truth, I’m going to assert that the only reason he has a job is because he knows how to suck some McMahon cock.  Big Show makes the save for Cody.  This guy is SO not going to turn on his team.

Match #2
Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, & Natalya vs. Melina, Kelly Kelly, and Gail Kim

Using advanced calculus obtained through top MIT mathematicians, the WWE was able to select a team for Raw that had equally as much talent as Michelle McCool’s little finger.  Beth starts with Gail Kim, who as always gets blown up just from hearing her name announced.  Beth slugs it out, and then Gail fights back.  She springs off the corner and tries to do something to Beth, and we end up with her getting a shitty roll-up for two.  McCool makes the blind tag and pounds away on Gail, but Kim gets a snap rana.  Tag to Natalya who slings Kim down for one.  Kim gets a roll-up for one.  Natalya brawls her around, then fires off a scoopslam.  Elbow drop misses, then Kim avoids a splash in the corner and Kim gets something resembling a skull crusher on the ropes, then tags in Kelly Kelly, who fires off a foot-choke.  Natalya misses a clothesline and eats a whirly-bird.  Kelly goes for something but ends up getting hot-shotted, tits first, into the ropes.  Ouch.  Natalya gets her to the wrong corner and allows the heels to triple team on her.  Kelly somehow fights the ones on the ropes off, but Natalya cuts off a full comeback.  McCool in for some random brawling.  Tag to Beth who hits a snapmare for two, then slaps on a chinlock.  Kelly goes for a tag but she doesn’t even come close.  McCool in with a snapmare and a chinlock, and then slings her down by the hair.  Knee to the face by McCool, then Beth tags herself in.  Rana out of nowhere by Kelly gets two.  Jawbreaker and Kelly makes the hot tag to Melina.  Matrix move and a push-off dropkick.  Drop toe-hold into the ropes and a head of steam, followed by the blood-curdling scream of mass annoyance.  Ugh.  Who would cheer for that shit?  Facebuster by Melina, then she fights off a slingshot suplex by Beth and gets a small package, but the referee gets distracted and McCool turns it over for two.  Melina counters a sideslam with another facebuster for two.  Beth catches Melina with the worst snake eyes ever, and then fires off the Implant Popper for the pin.
** Started okay, but then fell apart at the end.  If nothing else, Gail Kim held up her end of things for once, and Kelly Kelly was an acceptable face-in-peril.  The heels actually weren’t very game here, though maybe that’s because Kelly isn’t trained as well and can’t take many of the moves they could offer.

-Meanwhile, DX tries to rally team Raw.  Of course, their idea of motivational speaking consists of insulting their team.  Triple H says nobody respects Jack Swagger and that people still make fun of Mark Henry for almost having a baby with Mae Young.  They also crippled Cody Rhodes, stuck the Big Show’s head up Vince McMahon’s ass, and exposed Kofi Kingston as a phony Jamaican.  Kingston should cut them a check for that.  Kingston tries to justify it, but Shawn says it’s not important.  He admits that nobody on the team likes them.  He tells Swagger that if he doesn’t want to be on the team, he can walk out and Shawn will replace him with the first person he sees.  Cue Hornswaggle.  True “LOL” moment sees Swagger barely able to keep himself from cracking up.  He struggles to hold it in for the rest of the segment.  Everyone looks like they’re on the same page at the end.

Match #3: World Heavyweight Championship
(c) The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk vs. Batista

So I’ve basically fallen out of love with the Undertaker in 2009.  I was one of the first smarks to openly say “Hey guys, am I the only one who noticed that he doesn’t suck anymore?” which happened around 2006.  Everyone else caught on shortly thereafter.  Who would have guessed the MMA Zombie thing would work as well as it did?  But then he comes back from his Wrestlemania sabbatical and suddenly he’s worse then dog shit in the ring and not selling at all for CM Punk, who was red hot at the time, and still has a lot to give the company as opposed to being in the twilight of his career, and actually has legitimate heat with the crowd, a first for a new-generation heel in the WWE in a long time.  Punk could have benefited from Undertaker going out of his way to make him look good.  Instead he was treated like a redheaded stepchild and/or Diamond Dallas Page.

And yet part of me is still saying “If he gets the stick out of his ass and goes back to his pre-Wrestlemania stick-less attitude, there’s still a LOT of Undertaker matches I want to see.  Including but not limited to…

-Triple H: It’s been done of course, but that was back in 2001 and with the Biker Taker gimmick that never really worked quite like they hoped.

-Rey Mysterio: I’m a sucker for big man/little man matches and this one could work out if the Dead Man actually sells for Mysterio.

-Randy Orton: Again, it’s been done but that was before Orton created his new Viper Persona, which seems like it would mesh INCREDIBLY WELL with Taker’s shtick.

-John Cena: I am SO looking forward to Cena/Taker at Wrestlemania.  Over the last several years John Cena has been the guy in the company for big matches and I look forward to the crowd giving him holy hell.

To this match, and as my readers know I suck at multi-man matches, but I’ll give it my best.  Punk proves his heel chops by clotheslining the little guy down right off the bat.  Two seconds into the match and Mysterio has already made Punk look better then two pay-per-view main events did with the Undertaker.  Punk then bails like a bitch so Batista gives chase.  Punk dives back in and ducks a Taker clothesline, which Batista eats.  Punk knots up Taker’s legs but that gets no-sold and he gets tossed out of the ring.  Punk then eats a seated senton off the apron from Mysterio.  Flying clothesline to Batista, then Mysterio goes after Undertaker.  He manages to dump him over the top with a dropkick, and then hits a dropkick between the ropes.  Ah, but Mysterio is in violation of WWE Code of Conduct #853: Person under six foot tall and 200lbs trying to make Undertaker sell a move.  So Taker no-sells all of that and then dives back in the ring and boots Mysterio in the face.  Taker winds up Batista’s arm and does the rope walk to him.  Mysterio gets his arm tied up as well, but Punk crotches him.  He then tosses Mysterio out of the ring.  Punk loads up Taker for a superplex and actually hits it.  Mysterio hits the floating splash on Taker for two.  Batista takes control of Punk with various brawling moves, then fires off a powerslam.  Batista hulks up, and then gets booted in the face by Taker when he turns around.  Mysterio goes for a snap-rana off the top rope, but Taker catches it and goes for the Last Ride.   Batista spears Taker to save Mysterio, and then they have a stare down while trying to decide who’s going to make the cover.  Mysterio goes to do it but Taker grabs a choke.  Batista saves and preps Taker for the 619, which hits.  Spinebuster by Batista gets two as Punk saves.  Punk and Mysterio go at it.  GTS out of nowhere by Punk gets two as Batista saves.  Hell’s Gate to Batista out of nowhere by Taker, but Punk saves and mounts some punches.  Running knee to the corner, then Punk gets arrogant and eats the wedgie bomb for two.  Taker and Batista have their big slug-off, and all the shots look really great.  Batista starts to win, so Taker drops the punching idea and fires off a chokeslam for two.  Punk saves and fights off getting chokeslammed himself, so Taker dumps him.  Batista loads up the Batista Bomb and fires it off on Taker for two, but Mysterio pushes him off and tries himself for two.  Batista is pissed and jaws with Mysterio.  Batista pie-faces Mysterio out of ring, and then Taker chokeslams Batista for two.  Batista fights off another one and they have a double clothesline.  Punk in out of nowhere to cover Batista for two, then Taker for two.  Batista dumps Punk, and then tosses Mysterio onto him, but Taker snatches Batista up in the Tombstone for the pin.
***1/2 Stupid spot fest, but hey, those are fun sometimes.  I would have gone higher except there really was no credible false finish in the match, despite them trying to head in that direction.  None of the ones they actually attempted felt like they could conceivably be the end to the match.  But it was fun for what it was, just a bunch of shit thrown together because none of these guys had anything better to do.

-After the match Josh Matthews wants a word with Batista and Mysterio.  Rey says that he and Dave couldn’t have worked harder together, and they gave it their best.  Batista is still dizzy from the Tombstone, but he’s actually selling the anger very well too.  I don’t get the hatred on him at all.  He’s playing this part to perfection.  Rey Mysterio says they were close to winning.  Batista says they were not close… he was close.  And he feels like Mysterio stabbed him in the back.  Rey says to stop playing.  Batista says in a very calm, cool, collected manner: “I’m not playing.  Rey.  I’m going to rip your head off.”  Crowd: “YEAAA!”  Mysterio just stands there, so Batista decapitates him with a clothesline.  Batista’s entire face turns red, and man, give the guy credit.  He is into his role here.  This is fucking awesome television and screw any of those blind Batista-haters who say otherwise.  Mysterio ends up out of the ring, so Batista throws him into the guardrail.  He goes to walk away while some of the little kids at ringside beg him to stop it.  This is fucking awesome.  He can’t walk away because he’s still pissed so he runs and boots Mysterio in the face.  He then walks out.  That’s a five star heel turn right there, and again, anyone who says Batista can’t sell his character is a fuckwad.

Match #4
Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, & Cody Rhodes vs. Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth, David Hart Smith, & Tyson Kidd

I hope the WWE drops the whole “Best of Three” series thing next year as it makes the outcome of the second match blatantly obvious.  The Smackdown team sure looks like shit compared to team Raw.  Whoever made the decision to change the Smackdown team around is officially a genius.  Whoever says the fans have no power over booking is wrong.  So many people on the “WWE Universe” forums shit on Smackdown team that everything was flipped the day of the Smackdown taping.  But hey, listening to the fans one small step at a time is the key to getting the WWE out of this rut it’s in.  Kudos.

Too many guys are lined up camera side and are blocking half the ring from the hard camera.  Bad production choice.  Cody and Truth start off.  Cody takes Truth to the corner and shoots him off, but Truth flips out of a charge and hits a dropkick for two.  Truth charges into an elbow and Cody rolls him up for some mounted punches.  Blind tag by Big Show, so Truth tags in Kane.  They have a big stare down.  Kane tries to brawl him but gets no-sold and slung into the corner.  Show misses his slow charge, but then barges through Kane with a shoulderblock.  Leg drop gets two.  Tag to Swagger who brawls him around.  Clothesline by Kane to take control, then a tag to Matt Hardy.  Ramming into the turnbuckle and a clothesline by Matt gets two.  Matt loads up the Side Effect but Swagger fights him off.  Matt won’t be denied and pounds him down.  Swagger charges into a boot in the corner and Matt drops a leg off the second rope for two.  To the outside where Matt clotheslines Swagger on the floor.  The teams spill down for a big stare down and it takes a bit for things to settle down.  Back in the ring, Swagger winds up Hardy and fires off some shoulderblocks.  Armbreaker gets two.  Tag to Mark Henry, who clubs away at Matt.  Stompery and a headbutt from Henry, but he misses a big elbow drop.  Matt reaches for a tag but Henry stops him and slings him to the Raw corner.  Tag to Shawn, who chops the poo out of Matt.  Matt gets rammed into the corner, and then Shawn lowers his head into a kick and the Side Effect.  Finlay tags in and fires off a clothesline, a slam, and an elbow drop.  Hard whip into the corner sends Shawn up and down.  More brawling from Finlay.  Whip to the corner but both guys run into each other for a double KO.  Shawn is up and hits Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere.  DH Smith made the blind tag out of nowhere and they hit Shawn with the Hart Attack 2.0 for two.  Smith brawls Shawn to the corner and slams him.  Tag to Jericho, who gets huge heat.  He actually does only care about individual glory, so he wipes his armpits with his Smackdown shirt and then slaps on a chinlock.  A chinlock in a seven-on-seven tag match that hasn’t really made any effort at a decent heat sequence.  Ugh.  This match sucks.

Shawn escapes and gets a roll-up out of nowhere for two.  Clothesline by Jericho gets two.  Tag to Kane who fires off a snapmare and a dropkick to the face for two.  Smith gets the tag and again slaps a chinlock on.  Shawn tries to fight out so Smith gets his spinning back suplex for two.  Tag to Kidd who whiffs on an elbow drop, while Lawler and Michael Cole totally bury him on commentary.  What the FUCK is that about?  “Come on Shawn, its Tyson Kidd!” says Lawler with a degree of smugness that should result in him being tied to the bow of a ship and flogged until he’s unconscious.  Shawn makes the hot tag to HHH.  High knee to Kidd and a facebuster to Smith.  Clothesline to Smith, spinebuster to Finlay on top of Smith, then one to Kid on top of them.  Kane comes in and chokeslams Trips, then bails out of the ring and gets his hands up as if to say “I didn’t do it!”  This is so brutally bad.  Kidd drapes a hand over for two, as Lawler and Cole continue to bury Kidd.  Does he owe them money or something?  Jericho tags in and bulldogs Trips.  Lionsault misses and Kofi gets the tag.  Flying clothesline, then a dropkick, and then another clothesline.  Boom drop attempt is countered into a try at the Walls of Jericho, but Kingston rolls him up off it for two.  Tornado Kick hits for two as the Harts save for Smackdown.  Things break down and Henry comes in and gets dumped.  Truth dives at Henry but gets caught, so Matt flies off the turnbuckle and takes him out.  Rolling fireman’s carry by Finlay, but Swagger comes in with the Gut Bomb.  Kane boots Swagger, and then gets speared by Show.  Kofi climbs but Show turns on team Raw and chokeslams him off the top, then hits the knockout punch on Trips.  Huge heel heat for him.  Jericho slowly crawls over and makes the cover to win the generic trophy of awesomeness.
3/4* A lot of people threw some good scores at this match, and they were all totally wrong.  Horrible match structure, lack of any type of teamwork or psychology, and this was just a really bad match with little in the way of redeeming value.  Compare it to the fatal four-way where everyone had a chance to strut their stuff.  Here almost nobody had a chance to show what they could do.  I had a feeling going into this that it would be more like one of those clusterfuck Raw tag matches they have about once a year during big shows, but it wasn’t even of that quality.  Just a big letdown.  The whole Bragging Rights concept is officially a flop.

-Highlights of the Cena/Orton feud.  I’m shocked there were enough to fill a two minute long video package.

-Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes blames Kofi Kingston for taking the pin in the match.  I guess he wasn’t watching the match.  Can’t blame him really.  It kind of sucked.

Match #5: WWE Championship, Sixty Minute Anything Goes Iron Man Match
(c) Randy Orton vs. John Cena

This is only the second iron man match I’ve reviewed.  The first was of course the Shawn/Bret non-classic that I gave *** to, calling it “Twenty minutes of action packed into a sixty minute match.”  It’s one of those matches that people either hate or they pretend to love.  I truly in my heart of hearts don’t think anyone really likes it as much as they claim and just call it one of the best matches ever because it ups their smark cred.  Still, a match can be forty minutes of nothing followed by a really hot ending and still get a passing grade from me.  A similar situation happened with the 2007 Royal Rumble match.  Here, I’m hoping they just throw the bullshit out the window and give us an updated version of Rocky/Trips from Judgment Day 2000.

First Fall

Each fall will be followed by a thirty second rest period.  OR WHAT?  It’s anything goes.  What are you going to do, disqualify someone for not listening?  We start the match with a long lock-up.  Cena gets a headlock-takeover and gets a one count out of it.  To their feet where Orton drives Cena to the corner and they eat up time by slowly breaking.  Orton finally punches free and grabs his own headlock-takeover.  To their feet where Cena shoots Orton off and gets a hiptoss.  Orton up and he slings Cena into the corner.  Cena goes for a bulldog but Orton pushes off in a spot that looked pretty unconvincing.  Orton snakes around the ring and stomps away.  Orton brawls Cena around the ring and goes into his viper gimmick.  STFU out of nowhere by Cena and Orton taps as soon as it’s hooked on, which is good psychology.  Cena leads 1-0.

Second Fall – 55:26 Remains

Cena slugs it out but gets shot off the ropes and powerslammed.  Knee drop by Orton and he coils around.  He picks up Cena’s arm and kicks him in the chest, then goes back to slowly stomping him around.  Ugh, hate the pace and Orton’s not playing it up enough to make it okay.  Suplex over the ropes by Orton gets two.  Orton clubs at Cena’s chest and slaps on a chinlock.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice looking chinlock, but we’re only seven minutes into the fucking thing.  The timing for it just seems wrong.  Cena muscles out of it after a couple minutes and hits a blockbuster.  Cena climbs and hits the standing leg drop.  Cena tells Orton he can’t see him.  Orton says “Wanna bet?” and hits the RKO for the pin.  We’re tied 1-1.

Third Fall – 50:20 Remains

Cena stands up on the apron so Orton charges and knocks him into the guardrail.  To the floor, and apparently falls count anywhere as well.  This is like the types of matches I used to have on No Mercy on the Nintendo 64 back in the day.  Orton coils around the ring and hooks him up for a DDT, but then slams him into the apron instead.  He preps the announce table, but then stops with a monitor.  He smashes Cena with it and covers for two.  I figured that would be a pinfall right there.  Orton tosses Cena back into the ring, fakes like he has something to say, and then smashes Cena with it for two.  Randy is pissed now.  Cena is bleeding and the match has to be delayed to keep us at TV-PG.  But Cena says fuck that and charges at Orton, then dumps him over the top and to the floor.  Nice.  Cena tries to whip Orton into the stairs but Randy reverses and Cena eats it hard.  It’s a decent amount of blood too, and thankfully we don’t have to deal with any attempts to filter it out.  Orton preps Cena’s head on the stairs and stomps him for two.  Now that would have been a good spot to score a pin, since stomping is kind of Randy’s signature.  Back in the ring, Orton punches away at the cut.  He acts like he’s turning his back on Cena, and then spins himself down into the coil.  That was cool.  He goes for the RKO but Cena pushes off and it’s Hulk up time.  Shoulderblocks, protoplex, five knuckle shuffle, and the FU, BUT WAIT~!! because Orton hits the RKO at the exact same time.  That looked awesome.  Both guys have their shoulders down and referee counts both down, which makes no sense at all but we’ll roll with it.  The match is given a three minute break so that Cena’s cut can be fixed.  I’m sure Vince McMahon was having a conniption in the back.  Score is 2 to 2.

Fourth Fall – 41:59 Remains

Orton misses a charge in the corner and kills his shoulder on the post.  Cena loads up Orton on the top rope and hits the FU from there, but he’s still woozy.  He slowly crawls over and covers for the pin.  Cena is up 3 to 2.  BUT WAIT~!! because it’s anything goes so Legacy comes out to double up on Cena.

Fifth Fall – 39:55 Remains

Rhodes and DiBiase beat on Cena.  Million Dollar Nightmare to Cena, and then Legacy throws Orton on top for the pin.  We’re tied at 3.  BUT WAIT~!! because Kofi Kingston is out with a chair to chase away Legacy.

Sixth Fall – 38:36 Remains

We start this fall with a double clothesline.  Both guys are slow to get up.  Double-leg takedown by Cena and some mounted punches, and then we spill out to the floor.  To the aisle where Cena drives Orton into the rail, then smacks him around some more.  Cena tosses him into the opposite rail, and then Orton blocks a ram into the rail and gives Cena one himself.  Kick to the face gets two.  To the technician area, where Orton slams Cena into the pyro buttons and causes a detonation to happen, which startles him.  And then his brain starts to come up with something.  He tosses Cena through part of a lighting grid and that causes a small explosion.  Orton drags him out and covers him for the pin to take the lead for the first time.  It’s 4 to 3.  Todd Grisham actually sells the situation pretty well; pointing out that nobody is allowed to go into the area they’re fighting in.

Seventh Fall – 33:58 Remains

Orton goes over to the pyro control center and causes another detonation, and then another.  “This thing is great!  If only I had this when I trashed that Holiday Inn, I could have REALLY caused some damage!”  Orton gets a chair and kills Cena with it, then preps him over the spot where the fireworks detonate.  Fans are going fucking nuts, the announcers are having heart attacks, and the referee and the pyro guy are begging him to stop.  The referee threatens him.  Orton hits a button but nothing happens. He starts to slam the buttons and finally it detonates, but Cena had already moved out of the way.  Orton goes over to check for burns, but there are none, so he flips out.  Nice sequence, but they needed a better way to pay it off.  Certainly did put over Randy Orton as the most evil guy on the roster.  Jerry Lawler bluntly declares that “Orton’s intention was to blow up John Cena.”  I love it.  But there’s a downside to having an awesome character sequence like that without a payoff, as now the fans aren’t reacting to ANYTHING!

Orton brawls Cena down the ramp and whips him into the stairs.  Orton picks up the stairs and throws them at Cena for two.  Orton now has some kind of psychotic episode, almost like he’s crying.  Very creepy.  Orton spreads Cena’s legs apart and stomps him in the chest.  Orton grabs a chair and plasters him in the back with it for a one count.  I like the kick-out at one, as it makes Cena look like he’s totally running on instinct.  Orton rolls Cena into the ring, only to get snatched into a small package for the pin to tie it back up.  It’s 4 to 4.  Orton says to hell with the rest period and brawls Cena around.  The ref breaks it up and Orton decides to also say to hell with TV-PG.  “FUCK!  FUCK!”  Nice.

Eighth Fall – 26:36 Remains

Orton’s eyes are totally vacant.  After working himself into a frenzy for over a minute, he loads Cena up and fires off his rope DDT, only he does it off the apron and onto the floor.  It gets the pin to give him back the lead, and it’s 5 to 4.  Replays show that it looked solid, and that Orton himself even winced when he did the move.  Nice.  Little touches, people.

Ninth Fall – 24:15 Remains

Orton covers again for two, and then rolls Cena back into the ring.  Garvin stomp and some clubbing blows to Cena’s chest.  Knee drop gets two.  Straight punch by Orton gets two.  Crowd is dead, and the pace has joined it.  Cena is back up and Orton punches him down again for two.  Well we’ve pissed away all the fun this match had going for it.  Orton goes for a clothesline but Cena ducks and punches him.  Orton decides to take his lead and bail out of the ring and up the aisle.  It’s not like he’s going to get counted out.  Hell, he should get in his car and drive away.  According to the rules of the match, presumably on a contract that he signed as well, what’s to stop him from it?  After attempting to murder John Cena via explosion, just driving away with the title, even with twenty minutes left, wouldn’t even be the most evil thing he did all match.  But Orton isn’t a total chicken shit, so he waits for Cena to get to the top of the ramp.  He then beats Cena down.  John is up and he counters a punch and smacks Orton down the ramp.  Orton bails back into the ring.  I get that this is good heelish psychology, but considering that we had several minutes of NOTHING before this, it’s not helping this match out, which I now think has officially dipping under the three star passing grade.  Cena returns to the ring and gets stomped down again.  Orton goes for the rope DDT again, but Cena turns that into an FU attempt.  Orton elbows himself free and bails into the audience.  Cena catches him in the middle of the stands and they brawl there.  You can’t see anything that’s going on, mostly because some extremely tall dipshit is standing up trying to get a good look, despite the fact that they’re right fucking next to him.  Cena hits Orton with a rubber garbage can.  Orton keeps trying to run and ends up falling down the stairs a bit.  Smmmmarrrttt.  Generic garbage brawling from Cena follows.

Cena tosses Orton over the rail and covers for two.  Well, at least that got the crowd back into the match, if only for a little bit.  Cena preps the steel stairs and slams Orton into them for two.  Orton tries to run but Cena tosses him into the rail.  Orton’s selling the arm, so Cena tosses it into the rail again.  Cena slowly loads up Orton and throws him through the barricade that blocks off the timekeeper’s table.  Cena preps the stairs by the announce table, and then preps the table by removing the monitors from it.  Wouldn’t it hurt more to do whatever he has planned ON the monitors?  Ugh, wrestling logic.  Come on John, the guy tried to blow you up!  Cena grabs the top of the stairs and whacks Orton down with them, then preps them on top of the base, next to the table.  Orton tries to get some distance, but Cena hoists him up for the FU, walks him over to the stairs, and then hits it through the table for the pin to tie it 5 to 5.

Tenth Fall – 8:31 Remains

Cena immediately covers after the rest period for two.  Cena pulls a table from under the ring and places it in the ring.  He slowly preps it, then slowly gets Orton into the ring, then slowly places Orton on the table, then slowly climbs up the ropes.  After the longest three minutes of the match, Cena whiffs a leg drop off the top attempt and crashes through the table.  Michael Cole asks “Doesn’t it seem like as we get closer to the end that the clock ticks away a lot faster?”  No.  Fuck no.  This is the big finish and I’m in need of medical assistance to prevent myself from slipping into a coma.  We get the big, overly dramatic slug-off.  Cena wins and gets a flying shoulderblock.  He goes for another but Orton ducks and the referee gets wiped out.  RKO but there’s no referee.  Another one comes down and Orton only gets two.  Well, that makes Cena look incredibly weak.  Orton is pissed and knocks out the fresh referee.  1:45 left and Orton is back to crying and doing the crazy facial expressions.  Ever see the scene from Me, Myself, and Irene where Jim Carrey snaps for the first time?  No?  Ugh, I should have thought of a movie people actually watched.  Anyway, Orton looked just like that.  And it was awesome, but nothing is going to save what’s left of this match at this point.  Orton goes for the punt, but Cena snatches him down in the STFU.  Orton struggles and taps with five seconds to go to give Cena the championship.
**1/2 So here’s how I came to the rating.  Would I ever want to watch this match again?  No.  Was it worth watching the first time?  Not really.  Everything that was cool here was undone and then some by all the segments where nothing happened.  I’m sure people will say that I’m being too hard on it and they had to stall to fill the full hour.  Fuck that, says I.  If they didn’t have enough stuff in their arsenal to fill a full hour then the match should have never been booked in the first place.  They didn’t even start using fundamental psychology until the last ten minutes.  It was just random brawling throughout and nothing really worth going back to check out again.  I kept my expectations low and they still disappointed.  Thankfully, this is it for this feud, at least for a few months.  Still, the Cena/Orton rivalry has my vote for worst feud of the year.  Even with the wonderful match they had at Breaking Point, it wasn’t enough to counter the agony of their Summerslam match and the mediocrity of this match and their Hell in a Cell effort.  Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of stuff that was worth checking out during this one, but any contest where the fast-forward button is eligible for most valuable player is doomed to be shunned.

Bonus Feature: Josh Matthews talks to Chris Jericho, who kisses the Bragging Rights trophy.  Kane was invited but Jericho says that he was the architect of their victory.  He tells Josh to not touch the trophy.  He brags that if he had been on the Raw team, they would have won too.  So it’s not a Raw or Smackdown thing, it’s a Chris Jericho thing.  Pretty decent little heelish promo from Jericho that lasts about two minutes.  Again, I would rather have matches from television shows.  Or hell, put classic matches with similar themes in.

BOTTOM LINE: There’s nothing to brag about here.  Of the five matches, only one was actually decent.  Decent isn’t enough to cut it here.  Everything else is full of unrealized potential.  Maybe I’m being too hard on it after having such a good time watching Raw this last week, but I don’t think so.  I wanted to love this show going in, but Bragging Rights was a total bust in concept and execution.  Big thumbs down for one of the worst pay-per-views of the year.

Thanks to Brad for editing this, as always.

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