WWE tag team legends The Hart Foundation
WWE Bragging Rights PPV
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Date: October 25, 2009
Commentators: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler
Michael Cole, Todd Grisham, and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. They panned the crowd, and then showed a Bragging Rights trophy at ringside. I like the idea of a trophy if this is going to become an annual event (which I’m not convinced it should be, but if it is…)
1 — THE MIZ vs. JOHN MORRISON
They showed a video package of clips of their insults of one another and the whole Marty Jannetty angle. A fan held up a sign that said: “Mizzy Jannetty.” They showed Team Smackdown watching on a monitor in the back, then Team Raw in another room doing the same. Grisham said the Smackdown crew always hears how they’re the B-show and Raw is the flagship show, and he said everyone backstage from Smackdown sees this as their chance. We “learned” from Michael Cole that Miz and Morrison “got their start on ECW.” Can one even count the ways that’s wrong? Grisham said Miz told him Morrison takes too many risks and he’s going to take advantage of it. Nice action in the early minutes. They showed Triple H watching on the monitor and all I could think of is how he was probably picking apart every little thing so he’d have one-liners to use against them on or off air later. Miz was in control at 7:00 and then settled into a chinlock. Morrison made a comeback a minute later. He went for a running knee, but Miz ducked and schoolboyed him for a two count. Morrison stayed in control and hit a springboard roundkick for a near fall cut short by Miz putting his leg on the bottom rope. When Morrison set up Starship Pain, Miz rolled out of the ring. Morrison dove onto Miz at ringside instead. Miz made a comeback at 10:00 and hit a top rope axe handle. He followed with an attempt at Skull Crushing Finale. Morrison escaped and hit a Russian leg sweep. Miz knocked him off balance as he went to the top rope for Starship Pain, then he made the cover and scored the pin. Morrison did a quick shoulder raise after the three count. They showed the Raw locker room celebrating and Smackdown absorbing the loss.
WINNER: Miz in 11:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 — Nice match.
-They showed the skyline of Pittsburgh. Grisham noted that Sporting News called it the best sports town in America. Lawler gloated to Grisham about his show being down 0-1. Cole then threw to a video package on the changes in the Smackdown team. Those who watched Raw and not Smackdown had to already be wondering why there was such a different Smackdown team assembled backstage.
-They showed Cody Rhodes talking to a trainer backstage as his wrists were taped about how Raw will enjoy a clean sweep. R-Truth walked up to Cody and said the night is just beginning. Cody said told Truth he’s a “second-rate competitor on a second-rate team on a second-rate show.” Truth said if he wants the truth, his “daddy” is why he’s on Raw and Orton is the only reason he’s enjoyed any success. He said the truth hurts. Big Show walked up to him and said he’s taking cheapshots verbally, so he must’ve learned a lot from Jericho. He said that’s not how they do things on Raw. He told him to tell Jericho and everyone else in the blue shirts that the Raw team will let their actions speak for themselves.
-A “zany” commercial aired with DX in fatigues plugging Survivor Series.
2 — MICHELLE MCCOOL & “GLAMAZON” BETH PHOENIX & NATALYA vs. GAIL KIM & KELLY KELLY & MELINA
Kim vs. Phoenix started. At 2:00 Kelly battled Natalya. Natalya got the best of her, dropping her over the top rope for a two count at 3:00. At 5:00 Melina and Phoenix battled, with Melina getting the better of Phoenix. Cole called this a must-win situation for Smackdown. Glamazon came back against Melina and scored the pin. Grisham bragged about “being back.”
WINNER: Glamazon & McCool & Natalya in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *
-Triple H began to give Team Raw a rally speech. He said they cannot lose their match tonight because the stakes have been raised. Jack Swagger interrupted and asked if they need this “rah rah speech.” He said they’ll be fine because he’s on the team. Michaels said nobody respects him on the team. Triple H agreed and said there’s no way they should be able to get along. Hunter and Henry went back and forth about Henry dating Mae Young way back. He said they stuffed Vince McMahon’s head up Big Show’s naked butt and beat Cody Rhodes so badly he had to be carried out on a stretcher. He said they even exposed Kofi Kingston as a phony Jamaican. Kingston interrupted and said he only did it as a tribute to the Jamaican heritage. Michaels told Swagger if he wants off the team, he’ll replace him with the first person he sees. In walked Hornswoggle in DX gear. Michaels said he might rethink that. Hunter said the bottom line is they cannot lose tonight. He said it’s bigger than a match, it’s about honor and pride. He said it’s about walking into the locker room and see Smackdown guys and not have them see you as a loser. He asked if everyone was ready.
3 — UNDERTAKER vs. C.M. PUNK vs. BATISTA vs. REY MYSTERIO – World Heavyweight Championship match
The announcers noted that you don’t have to pin Undertaker to become champion, drawing attention to the weakness of the rules of this match. The announcers declared Undertaker the favorite. In an early spot, Taker threw Punk over the top rope by his neck. Rey then dove onto Punk at ringside. Batista and Taker battled in the ring with Taker hitting a flying clothesline. Rey re-entered the ring and knocked Taker to the floor. Taker re-entered and hit a charging Rey with a big boot. Wrestlers continued to surprise other wrestlers and interject themselves to break up pins or counter moves or stop momentum. Rey hit a 619 on Undertaker, then Batista hit a spinebuster for a two count, broken up by a low dropkick by Punk. Taker surprised Batista with a Hell’s Gate, which Punk broke up seconds later. Punk mounted and punched away at Taker. He hit a running knee in the corner, but as he gloated, Taker gave him a Last Ride. Batista broke up the pin. A minute later he hit a Batista Bomb on Taker. Rey knocked Batista off Taker and went for the cover. Batista knocked Rey off and then expressed disappointment and anger with Rey. He shouted, “I was this close! You’re supposed to be my friend! What the hell?” He then pie-faced Rey to the mat hard. Rey tumbled to the floor. Taker then chokeslammed Batista. Batista talked, Taker awkwardly paused, then Taker made the weakest cover you could imagine basically kneeling over Batista without his weight on him, and Batista easily kicked out. That was weird. Taker set up a second chokeslam, but Batista fought out of it. They collided mid-ring with clotheslines. Punk entered and opportunistically covered Batista. Batista kicked out. Punk covered Taker. Taker kicked out. Punk threw a brief tantrum. Batista then threw Punk out of the ring. Rey dove at Batista. Batista caught him threw him at Punk on the floor. Taker then gave Batista a Tombstone for the pin. A fan held up a sign that said, “I have swine flu.”
WINNER: Undertaker in 10:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2 — Good pace to everything. They played within the rules of the match well. Batista had an edge to him with a new beard and played into it by reacting the way he did to Rey.
-Josh Matthews interviewed Rey and Batista in the ring afterward. Rey was checking on Batista, who was slow to get up. Josh asked Rey how it felt to be so close. Rey said he and Batista couldn’t have worked harder and did their best. He said they had their confrontations at the beginning, but then moved in and apologized to him. Batista seemed ready to hug Batista, but Batista was still regaining his senses and balance. Rey said it just didn’t work out for them. Matthews asked when he thinks the match slipped away from them. Rey said it was every man for himself and whatever happened happened. He said there will be another day. Matthews asked Batista how he feels. He asked Rey if he thinks they got close. The crowd cheered, but were clearly on edge anticipating a turn. Batista then said, “I don’t think we were close; I think I was close.” He added, “You know what else I think? I’m tired of coming this close. You know what else I think? I’m tired of my best friend stabbing me in the back.” Batista looked at Rey and said he’s not playing. “I’m going to rip your head off,” he said. he dropped the mic and gave him a death stare. He then shot at him with a hard clothesline. Grisham said, “He wasn’t playing.” He then stomped on Rey, knocking him to the floor. He went after him at ringside. Rey begged him to “take it easy.” Batista instead threw him hard into the security wall. Batista began to walk away, but then charged back at Rey with a boot to the face. Batista walked to the back as Rey winced in pain at ringside. Fans were mixed in response. There was even a faint “Ba-ti-sta” chant as he walked off the stage to the back.
-The “Don’t Try This At Home” video aired. Then they aired clips of WWE fans entering the arena taking sides in the Raw-Smackdown battle.
4 — TRIPLE H & SHAWN MICHAELS & THE BIG SHOW & JACK SWAGGER & MARK HENRY & KOFI KINGSTON & CODY RHODES vs. CHRIS JERICHO & KANE & FIT FINLAY & R-TRUTH & DAVID HART SMITH & TYSON KIDD & MATT HARDY
Only team captains got ring entrances – DX, Jericho, and Kane. They noted before the match that Team Raw weighs a combined 2,064 pounds and Smackdown 1,691. The announcers talked about J.R. sitting at home watching the match in his Smackdown nightgown. Lawler said Ross might fill the trophy with BBQ sauce of Smackdown wins. There was a brief opening exchange with Cody and Truth. Kane and Show tagged in. Cole and Grisham bragged up their respective brands. Cole touted the length of Raw’s run. Grisham noted that Smackdown is on broadcast TV. At 5:00 everyone faced off at ringside. Cole said this was a battle that will show “which show is the most compelling, which shows is the most dominant.” Not really. If Swagger pinned Hardy, that does not make Raw “more compelling” than Smackdown. Cole said he heard whispers for years on Smackdown that Raw was the better show. Lawler said now that he’s on Raw, he’s realized that’s true. The match was lots of short spans of novel one-on-one battles followed by relatively rapid tags. Triple H hot-tagged in at 13:00, but Kane cut off his momentum with a chokeslam. Kidd covered Hunter and scored a near fall. Jericho tagged in and bulldogged Hunter. Then more frequent tags with a variety of brief battles. Show speared Kane at 15:00 and showed babyface fire. Cole declared, “This is vintage Bragging Rights!” What in the hell does that mean? Show encouraged Kofi to climb to the top rope, but then he chokeslammed him to the mat in center-ring. Hunter entered the ring to complain, but Show KO’d him with one punch, then left. Jericho then made the cover. Grisham declared, “Smackdown is the superior brand!” The Smackdown music played. Lawler said, “You’ve gotta be kidding me.” Cole said Smackdown won because of a man in red. Grisham replied, “Details, details.” Jericho hugged and kissed the trophy.
WINNERS: Team Smackdown in 16:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 — There’s just no chance for 14 wrestlers in a match to tell a traditional story in the ring in just 16 minutes. There was a lot of action, but most of it by definition didn’t matter. The finish was, in retrospect, predictable. It seemed wrong that babyfaces on Team Smackdown were pleased with that kind of win, but they all had broad smiles.
-After showing a pensive John Cena backstage, a video package aired on their feud. Cole said it’s been an honor to “be part of” one of the greatest rivalries in WWE history. Cole said if Cena wins, he goes to Smackdown. Grisham corrected him.
-Backstage Cody approached Kofi and said he should be ashamed. He called him the weak link. Kofi said that’s not how it went down. Cody jumped him. Lawler said it wasn’t Kofi’s fault.
5 — JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON — “60 Minute Iron Man Match” for the WWE heavyweight title
They locked up center ring to start the match in a test of strength. Lawler said the key strategy entering this match is to try to conserve energy while also wearing down your opponent. Lawler said he’s been in matches that lasted an hour, but not when he knew it going into the match. Cole said this is the first time a WWE Iron Man match is “anything goes, falls count anywhere.” Lawler said he’s not sure who that favors. Orton dominate for four minutes, but then Cena out of nowhere applied one of the worst looking STFs you’ll ever see. Tons of light showing there. You could have put a toilet seat into the space between Cena’s arms and Orton’s head. Orton frantically immediately tapped out, wanting to avoid prolonged “punishment.” Lawler called it a smart move. They went into a 30 second rest interval.
Orton dominate for several minutes, including cinching on his obligatory chinlock at 7:00. Cena made a comeback at 8:00 as many fans booed him. He went into the You Can’t See Me routine, but the showboating gave Orton time to recover and hit an RKO out of nowhere for the win. No one believes Orton would pin Cena in a one-on-one match in under eight minutes, but because it’s Iron Man, everyone is supposed to accept it. They went into the 30 second rest period.
Cena was very slow to recover and rolled to the ring apron. Orton charged at him and knocked him hard to the floor at 10:00. Orton beat up Cena at ringside and scored the first two count of the match outside the ring. Back in the ring Orton held a mic and as he was about to speak, he instead used it to hit Cena. At 13:00 Orton took it to Cena at ringside again. Orton stepped on Cena’s head on the ring steps, then stomped on it. Grisham wondered how Cena could last another 45 minutes. He was bleeding from his forehead at this point. Lawler said the ref may need to stop the match to let doctor’s check on his head, which would count as a fall for Orton. At 16:00 Cena made a Tommy Dreamer Comeback and went into the You Can’t See Me Routine. He landed the Five Knuckle Shuffle and then an Attitude Adjustment, but mid-move Orton turned it into an RKO. The Attitude Adjustment is such a harmless looking finisher that the announcers didn’t even fully realize that Orton scored the fall. The ref counted a double pin on both. Docs checked on a resistant Cena during the 30 second interval. Lawler said even though the score is 2-2, he’d rather be Orton. He said incorrectly that Orton scored the last fall. They both scored the last fall. Grisham must’ve gotten a message in his headset because he clarified that both men scored that last fall.
Cena set Orton on the top rope and gave Orton an Attitude Adjustment for the pin. That gave Cena a quick 3-2 edge. Another 30 second rest period followed. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase ran to the ring and jumped Cena, again displaying the ludicrousness of any and all “anything goes” matches. Grisham said, “It may not be ethical, but it’s legal.” DiBiase gave Cena his Dream Street. Orton covered Cena and scored the pin at 20:00. Kofi ran to the ring with a chair and chased Rhodes and DiBiase to the back.
They collided mid-ring with clotheslines to start the action after the 30 second rest interval. The countdown clock had over 38 minutes left on it. They brawled up the ramp. Orton threw Cena through a wall of lights on the entrance set. Explosions followed. Orton dragged Cena out from under the lighting and the ref counted the pin. Orton walked over to the pyro desk and began pushing buttons like a toddler with a new toy. He memorized what a couple of them did, and then went back to Cena. He grabbed a chair and smashed Cena’s back, shoulder, and head with it (but mostly hitting the floor to create a sound effect but protect Cena). Orton put Cena on the place where the pyro blasts. Orton went back to the pyro desk. The ref and the pyro guy tried to talk Orton out of it. Orton began hitting a bunch of buttons and pyro went off. Cole called him psycho. Lawler asked if it hit him. He said he thought Cena rolled out of the way, but he was near it. Orton checked for burns and threw a fit when there were none. He pounded away at Cena on the ramp. Lawler said, “Orton’s intentions were to blow up John Cena. That’s what he attempted before our very eyes.” Grisham said, “I know it’s anything goes, but even that seems like a stretch.” Orton, with a 4-3 lead, continued to beat on Cena at ringside. Orton methodically rolled Cena into the ring. Lawler said with 27 minutes left, it’s like an eternity. Cena surprised an overconfident Orton with a small package to even it 4-4. Orton jumped Cena in anger, not respecting the 30 second interval rule that is part of this “Anything Goes” match. What’s the ref going to do, DQ him?
After the 30 second rest, Orton dragged Cena out of the ring head-first and DDT’d him onto the floor as his legs were still draped over the ring apron. That was enough for a pin and a 5-4 lead. Cole said that move may have taken the life out of Cena in this match.
The Orton stomp was up next. After a methodical beating for a couple minute, Cena surprised Orton with a “desperation punch,” as Lawler put it. Orton walked toward the back and checked out the clock. The announcers said he was perhaps planning to go into a defensive mode, like the “prevent defense” in football. Cena walked up the ramp after Orton. Orton easily took him down and then looked up at the scoreboard on the big screen. Lawler said 20 minutes is a mighty long time to stall. Grisham said it seems Orton should have a bigger lead. Lawler must have misheard him as he replied, “I’m not surprised Orton is up.” Orton returned to the ring. Cena regained his energy and marched back to the ring. Orton jumped Cena as soon as he re-entered the ring. Cena made a surprise Attitude Adjustment attempt, but Orton escaped and bailed out into the crowd. Cole said it’s like “the old four corners in basketball.” Cena ended up getting the better of the brawl in the crowd. He scored a near fall on Orton at ringside. Cena saw four soldiers at ringside and seemed to get inspired. He threw Orton into a barricade “so hard it broke,” but it was a barricade not near any fans. Cena dragged the base of the ring steps near the announce table. When Orton stood, Cena rammed him in the face with the top part of the steps. Cena put the top part of the steps back on the base near the announce table, and then he picked up Orton and lifted him onto his shoulders. He carried him over to the steps and walked up to the top. He gave him an Attitude Adjustment (i.e. he dropped him onto the table) and scored the three count to even the score with just over nine minutes left. They went into the 30 second rest period. The clock didn’t stop during the rest periods, so with the 5-5 score, there have been 9 rest intervals totaling four-and-a-half minutes.
Cena slid a table into the ring. The crowd chanted, “We Want Tables.” Cena set up the table legs. Cena lifted Orton’s limp body onto his shoulders and carried him to the ring and rolled him in. Orton was dead weight. The clock read 6:05 left as Cena climbed into the ring. Cole said there will be an overtime if the score is tied. Lawler said he thinks there won’t be an overtime “and this thing is about to end.” Cena climbed to the top rope. Grisham wondered if it was an unnecessary risk. He went for a top rope legdrop, but Orton moved. Both men were slow to get up. At 56:00 Orton threw the first punch at Cena from his knees. Cena punched back. The crowd cheered each punch by their respective favorite. Cole said there’s a reason this is only the sixth Iron Man match in history. At 57:00 Cena went for a flying shoulder, but Orton ducked and Cena hit the ref. The last thing this match needed was a late ref bump. WWE doesn’t overdo ref bumps as badly as they once did, but it’s still the type of move that takes the wind out of the sails of fans. Orton gave Cena an RKO. The ref was out and couldn’t make the count. A second ref ran out and Orton made the cover, but Cena kicked out. Cena fans popped. Orton shoved the replacement ref, Charles Robinson, hard. Since announcers aren’t allowed to say referee names anymore (one too many ex-WWE-refs have tried to capitalize on their name value apparently, plus why fill WWE fans’ heads with useless info), Lawler kept saying “that referee” and other general terms, while trying to avoid the also-banned pronouns to describe people. So many rules. The bump Robinson took was nasty, like Adrian Petersen earlier in the day taking out that Steeler defender.
Orton, with 1:15 left, got up and set up a punt kick. Cena moved and applied a sudden STF. The original ref came to and checked on Orton. Orton tried to escape without tapping. “Every second feels like an hour for Orton!” said Cole. Orton tapped out with just three second left. Time ran out and Cena’s music played.
WINNER: Cena in 60:00 by a 5-4 score.
STAR RATING: ****1/4 — Excellent match. They incorporated a lot of what you’d have anticipated given the “Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere” stipulation other than leaving the sight of the fans in the arena bowl, which is smart because live crowd reject that. The pyro spot was a groaner in some ways, but the type of thing a certain segment of the Raw audience talks about the next day. The announcers at least did a good job making it seem like it was crossing some kind of line and not just treating it as yet another spot in the match. They found a way to keep the match from dragging by incorporating various chapters so no ten minutes were alike. That said, this is not a format they should go to more than once every few years.
Jerry Lawler: “It’s my opinion that all women secretly hate each other.”
Jerry Lawler on Natalya: “Who’s her hairdresser, Michael, because I don’t want my girlfriend to go there by mistake.”
Triple H: “Individually, this team shouldn’t even be able to get along. Let’s face facts, we’ve been making fun of Mark Henry here ever since he tried to have a baby with Mae Young.”
Mark Henry in response: “Man, that was a long time ago. You’re not still thinking about that? I mean, you’re not still picking on me.”
Triple H: “Even if we were, it’s not important.”
Jerry Lawler (for fun, we’ll leave out of the context): “John Cena has not done number two.”