The show opened with Chris Jericho’s theme music, then Jericho slowly walked to the ring in his villain suit. Very stoic. Jericho said he’s not here to apologize for what happened at Summerslam last night. He said Shawn Michaels should be held responsible for what happened to his wife, Rebecca. Jericho said he did not put Shawn’s wife in harm’s way, but Michaels did. … They cued up the video package from Summerslam of HBK trying to retire, only to have Jericho interrupt to claim his self-glory for putting Michaels out of wrestling.
Back in the ring after the video package, the heat was pretty intense. Jericho simply stood in the ring looking at one corner of the arena while the fans booed him unmercifully. They had a crowd shot of Harley Race mixed in there. After a few wide shots, Jericho finally spoke again by presenting his interpretation of the truth about Michaels not being willing to just turn in his resignation, but he had to get his moment in the sun one more time to turn down the begging and the pleading from the audience who wanted him to stick around. Jericho said the fans are also responsible for what happened to Rebecca last night.
Jericho said Michaels’s last moment in the ring was cradling the head of his injured wife and HBK knowing he was responsible for it. Jericho whispered above the boos that it’s the truth. He said Michaels had it coming. Jericho simply nodded his head affirming his version of the story, then he started to leave the ring to a chorus of boos. Lawler said Jericho is showing absolutely no remorse for his actions. Cole said Jericho is relishing the fact that Michaels’s career was tarnished forever. Fade to commercial with Jericho disappearing up the entrance ramp to the back. So great. Jericho knows exactly how to act and what to say to get the reaction he wants. Great theater.
Raw plug: Raw is on Sci-Fi next week in the same timeslot.
In-ring: Batista came to the ring to a strong reception for the opening match on the show. Batista was selling a knee injury from the match against Cena last night. Already in the ring was Paul Burchill with no sign of Katie Lea.
1 — BATISTA vs. PAUL BURCHILL
Lawler said Katie Lea is not present because she’s in the next match. Burchill went right after the injured knee and tried to wear down Batista, but Batista nailed a spear and spinebuster combo. Batista then measured Burchill and scored the Batistabomb for the easy pin and the win. Batista then smiled all the way up the entance ramp to celebrate the easy win.
WINNER: Batista in 2:00. Easy win over the former pirate. Based on this, Burchill might be on the short list for the next round of pink slips. (1/2*)
Backstage: Mike Adamle introduced himself and started to introduce the newest member of the Raw roster, Primo Colon, but Adamle suddenly spotted John Cena walking around. He ran up to Cena to inform him of some sort of match scheduled for tonight, but Cena brushed him off to handle some business. He walked up to Batista, who stopped for a brief stare down. Cena complimented him on the match last night, then shook his hand and said the best man won. Batista smiled while catching his breath, then Cena said that was only last night. He walked away.
2 — KATIE LEA & JILLIAN HALL vs. KELLY KELLY & MICKIE JAMES
Match started off with Kelly landing some acrobatic moves before the heels went to work on her. Kelly then blocked a handspring elbow drop from Jillian and made the hot tag to Mickie, who cleaned house. Some awkward TV ensued as everyone tried to get on the same page, then Kelly and Mickie double-dropkicked Jillian to the outside. From behind, Mickie avoided a roll-up with a hook of the tights from Katie before nailing the leaping DDT on Katie for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Kelly & Mickie in 5:00. Fine match. Mickie gets a win back after losing the Women’s Title last night. (*)
They aired a video package with Summerslam highlights before cutting to break.
Match plug: Cole and Lawler plugged John Cena in a handicap match against Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase, Jr. tonight.
In-ring: A disappointed JBL emerged from the white limo near the stage before walking to the ring a loser from last night. JBL soaked up the boos, then Jamie Noble came to the ring as the victim tonight.
3 — JBL vs. JAMIE NOBLE
JBL quickly shoved Noble into the corner and started his assault. Repeated elbow drops left Noble struggling for breath on the mat. JBL then slowly helped him up before landing the Clothesline from Hell. JBL paused while the ref checked on Noble for signs of life, then JBL landed two short-arm clotheslines to emphasize the point. JBL started to make a cover, but ref Marty called for the bell and declared JBL the winner with Noble knocked out.
WINNER: JBL via KO in 3:00. Effective for JBL sending the message that he’s the biggest bully on the block. (1/2*)
Up next: Shane and Stephanie McMahon have a blockbuster announcement. That was random. … MyNet plug: They aired a video package for the move to MyNetworkTV. Premiers on Friday, Oct. 3. That package just looked cheesy with wrestlers making random comments in front of a green screen backdrop for Smackdown.
Ringside: They showed members of the Chicago Cubs ringside. Looked like one of them was Ryan Dempster, but it’s tough to match up a player from uniform to street clothes.
On-stage: Mike Adamle came out on stage to make a few announcements. He said C.M. Punk will face Chris Jericho tonight. Adamle then announced that Shane and Stephanie have compelled him to make an extraordinary announcement. At the Unforgiven PPV, five wrestlers, including C.M. Punk, will compete in a 20-minute match. Anyone can score a pin or submission during the match for 20 minutes. He said the title could change hands several times before the 20 minutes expires. The winner of the Hardcore Title-style match will be determined from the pool of Punk, Kane, JBL, Batista, and John Cena as the participants. Adamle called it the Championship Scramble. Ugh.
In-ring: DiBiase and Cody Rhodes then came to the ring for the presumed handicap match against John Cena. Suddenly, Cryme Tyme came to the ring. Shad Gaspar distracted the champs, then JTG grabbed the tag title belts from ringside and they took off running. After CT hi-jacked the tag gold, John Cena’s music hit and Cena came out to a strong, but mixed reaction. Once Cena’s music stopped, it was pretty much all boos until the bell sounded and the high-pitched voices tried to drown them out.
4 — JOHN CENA vs. World tag team champions TED DIBIASE, JR. & CODY RHODES
They returned with the action in progress. DiBiase was the aggressor here, using a little cat-and-mouse from Cody to bait Cena into an attack. DiBiase smashed Cena with successive right hands before the tag champs started a methodical in-and-out attack on Cena.
[Q5 — second hour]
Cena fired back at the champs out of his corner, but DiBiase held onto Cena’s arm briefly to allow Cody to smash him in the back to continue the attack. High-pitched chant of “Cena, Cena” led to Cena rallying with right hand blows, but Cody out-quicked Cena into a trip to the floor. Cody then whipped Cena hard into the ring steps before bringing him back into the ring to continue the beating. DiBiase was too casual on a suplex, allowing Cena to counter with a suplex of his own. Cody tagged in and slowly set up Cena for a right hand, but Cena emphatically blocked to start his full-fledged comeback. Cena dropped Cody in center ring, then gave DiBiase the you-can’t-see-me followed by a Five Knuckle Shuffle drop on Cody. DiBiase tried to block the FU on Cody, but Cena clotheslined him and slapped on the STFU on Cody. Cody fought for a few seconds before tapping out.
WINNER: Cena in 12:00. Good match. Tag champs had another good showing with their work in the ring while on the offensive. DiBiase is a chip off the Randy Orton block, and he could be a valuable main eventer player down the road if he continues to develop. Cena could give plenty of offense and still come out strong here based on the crowd support. (**)
Ringside: They showed Harley Race in attendance.
Video package: They recapped the Michaels-Jericho angle at Summerslam last night. … Announcers: Cole and Lawler talked about the angle and Jericho’s speech earlier in show, then Cole said they tried to get an update on Rebecca’s condition, but Shawn and Rebecca have kept private tonight. Cole speculated she had a roughed-up jaw. …
Post-Summerlam clip: They went to a clip from after Summerslam last night when Cole caught up to Shawn and Rebecca as they were leaving. Shawn thought about saying something, but after consulting with his wife via eye contact, they started to walk away. Shawn paused, then walked back to Cole and said he’s going to go home to comfort his wife and his kids, who just watched their mother get punched in the face because of him. Michaels started to choke back tears and he tightened his jaw while starting to say what he would do next. That would presumably involve Jericho, but Michaels stopped short of finishing his thought, then he walked off with Rebecca.
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in the hometown champion, C.M. Punk, for an interview ahead of facing Jericho tonight. He brought up the Michaels-Jericho angle and Punk cut off Grisham to say Jericho is going to be held accountable tonight for what he did to Shawn Michaels’s wife last night. He said it’s going to be done on his terms, Chicago-style, tonight.
In-ring: GlaMarella came out on stage sporting their newly-won title gold. Dang, it would have been nice if Santino had the Women’s Title on. Apparently Santino is going one-on-one tonight. Santino soaked up the announcement from Lillian Garcia that he’s the new IC champion. He faces D-Lo Brown up next.
Announcers: Cole was laughing out of the break, and he said Santino and Beth gave their acceptance speech during the commercial break that will be on WWE’s website. D-Lo came out as Santino’s opponent, then Kofi Kingston came out afterward. Kofi was still all-smiles despite losing the IC Title last night. Kofi joined Cole and Lawler on commentary.
5 — IC champion SANTINO MARELLA (w/Beth Phoenix) vs. D-LO BROWN — non-title match
D-Lo went for a top rope move early on, but he apparently got his foot caught on the tag rope and crashed hard to the mat. Kofi said he’s looking forward to getting his title back, then D-Lo made his comeback and went back up top. Suddenly, Beth casually walked into the ring and stood over Santino to block D-Lo. He told her to get to stepping, but Beth slapped him in the face to cause a DQ. Santino stepped in and told Beth he had things under control, but D-Lo smacked him in the face. Santino wound up on the outside where Kofi rammed him head-first into the announce table. Beth then picked up Santino and helped him stumble around ringside. There may have been a nipple slip from Beth as the picture went dark with Santino inadvertently yanking Beth’s top down.
WINNER: D-Lo via DQ in 2:00. Going from about 15 minutes of Santino to about 3 minutes of Santino on TV is just not right. Disappointing use of Santino and Beth tonight. (1/2*)
Backstage: There was a red light on the wall, leading to Kane being shown walking toward the ring. … ECW promo: Henry vs. Hardy in an ECW Title re-match tomorrow night.
In-ring: Kane’s re-mixed entrance music hit. A little bit of the old school Kane music that certainly brings back memories of Paul Bearer. They showed a clip from Raw last week when Kane said he has the mask of a beaten, battered, and tormented man, Rey Mysterio. Back in the ring, Kane took the mic and said there was shock when he pulled out Rey’s mask from his burlap bag. He said he’s been carrying around the bag for quite a while, as it comforted him and put a smile on his face. Kane said the fans don’t realize that Rey hasn’t been seen for about six weeks because he never liked Rey and he doesn’t like people who like Rey. He called him a slithering little slime who hides behind a mask and is like a fungus that grows in the marshes of your psyche.
Kane changed voice tone and said he took apart Rey six weeks ago in a parking lot. He said Rey is still alive, but his spirit is crushed and broken. We know what Kane had at catering, as he had something stuck in his teeth. Hard to take the monster seriously with a piece of lettuce stuck in a tooth gap. Kane’s maniacal laugh was interrupted by Batista’s music, as Batista stormed the ring on one good leg to attack Kane. He landed a spinebuster, then wanted the Batistabomb, but Kane slipped down and smashed Batista in the injured knee before landing a chokeslam. Kane’s old school music hit, then he left the ring. I understand why Batista made the save since Rey is his friend in the storyline, but there was no reason for Batista to show any weakness one night after the significant clean win over Cena.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged Raw on Sci-Fi next week. They plugged the Unforgiven main event with C.M. Punk defending the World Title in the Adamle Original scramble match.
In-ring: Chris Jericho came out first with Lance Cade for the main event. After a brief pause, C.M. Punk’s music hit to a huge superstar reaction. Just huge. Punk held up the World Title high in the air in the ring as Cole talked about Punk’s background growing up in Chicago.
6 — World Hvt. champion C.M. PUNK vs. CHRIS JERICHO (w/Lance Cade) — non-title match
The bell sounded and there was a loud “C-M-Punk” chant to start things off. Punk started things off with rapid-fire kicks to the body before Jericho landed a thumb to the eye to take control. Jericho went for a shoulder tackle in the corner, but Punk moved and Jericho spilled to the floor. Punk smiled for the hard camera as they cut to break with Punk having the upper hand.
They returned with Jericho in control after knocking Punk off the ropes during the commercial break when Punk wanted a springboard smash. Jericho worked over the back with a variety of holds before slapping on abdominal stretch at 8:00. Jericho then sent Punk into the corner, but Punk came flying out with a knee strike to the face, followed by a high leg whip. Punk started his comeback and nailed a butterfly back breaker across his knee for a nearfall. Punk tried the knee strike and bulldog combo, but Jericho blocked and hit the Lionsault for a nearfall. Jericho tried to follow with the Walls of Jericho, but Punk fought out and suddenly whipped out a huracanrana for a nearfall at 10:00.
Punk came up favoring his head and Lawler said Punk had some staples put in the back of his head after knocking heads with JBL last night. Punk teased the G2S in the corner, but Jericho blocked and slapped on the Walls of Jericho. Punk fought the hold as Cole talked about Punk’s training coming into play right here. Punk inched closer to the bottom rope and eventually reached out for a break. Jericho tried to follow with a top rope move, but Punk met him with a high knee square in the jaw. Punk then flew off the top with a bulldog on Jericho before calling for the end. Cade hopped on the apron, though, and distracted Punk. Jericho then caught Punk from behind with the codebreaker for the pin and the win. They closed with one more plug for Raw on Sci-Fi next week.
WINNER: Jericho in 14:00. Good match. I don’t have a problem with Punk losing relatively clean here, as he had a good showing in the ring and the superstar pop will probably carry over more to next week than the outcome of this match. Plus, no one ever wins in their hometown, so the finish was inevitable. On another note, Jericho needed a credible TV victory if they’re going to sell Vengeance (or the PPV following Vengeance) on Michaels vs. Jericho as a headline match, so this was a good momentum-builder for Jericho. Very interesting to see the last two Raws end at the end of the second hour without a run-over. (**1/2)