2/1 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Bret Hart returns to confront Vince McMahon, Royal Rumble fallout, guest host William Shatner
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Nashville, Tenn.
[Q1] The show opened with a graphic that noted the death of WWE Hall of Famer Jack Brisco... The opening video aired... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler hyped that Bret Hart would confront Vince McMahon. They noted that William Shatner was the guest host of the show...
Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Edge as the winner of the 2010 Royal Rumble. Edge came to the ring wearing street clothes. He trimmed the beard, so it looks like my dream of seeing Edge vs. C.M. Punk in a beard vs. beard match won't come to fruition.
Edge stood in mid-ring and flashed a smile once his music stopped playing. "I'm back!" he yelled. He said he's not just back in a WWE ring or back in front of the fans, he's back because he's in the main event of WrestleMania. Edge said he wanted to take the fans back to six months ago when he and Chris Jericho won the Unified Tag Titles and he was injured.
Edge said the doctors said he might not be back until sometime between May and June "and they told me maybe never." Edge recalled Jericho thanking him for getting injured so that he could team with Big Show. Edge said the room got very silent as he thought about Jericho making light of his injury. "It didn't get silent because the guest host that night, Dennis Miller, just bombed with another brutal joke." Edge said it got quiet because he vowed that he wouldn't miss a third WrestleMania due to injury.
"I realized who I am," he said. "I am the ultimate opportunist." Edge said he made the decision to rehab harder than he ever has before. He said he promised himself that he would enter the Royal Rumble and win. Edge said Jericho has his Slammy Award and "his mug shot on TMZ," whereas he has the Rumble win.
Edge said that unlike Shawn Michaels, he could choose to face Undertaker. He said he could also face a wrestler (Sheamus) who has never competed at WrestleMania. Edge added that he could also do the smart thing and wait until after the Elimination Chamber to make his decision. He said either way, he will be headlining WrestleMania.
Sheamus's music played and he came to the ring with his own mic in hand. Sheamus boasted about his accomplishments, which included beating John Cena and Randy Orton. Edge said he's done the same, but Sheamus cut him off and said he could also beat Edge. He told Edge to walk away because he didn't want to ruin his Royal Rumble moment by ripping his head off.
Edge moved in and stood face-to-face with Sheamus, who suddenly nailed him a mic shot to the head. Sheamus went for a big boot, but Edge moved. Edge threw a series of punches at Sheamus and then followed up with a big spear that left Sheamus lying. Edge glared down at Sheamus and then stood up as the camera caught a shot of him with the WrestleMania sign hanging from the rafters...
Powell's POV: Strong segment. Edge received some boos when he came out, but he was unanimously cheered when he went at it with Sheamus. My only disappointment is that Edge didn't even tease the possibility of challenging for his longtime friend Christian's ECW Title. Maybe that was by design and Christian's character will take offense.
Cole introduced an Elimination Chamber video, which included tons of Jim Ross sound bytes...
[Q2] A shot aired of John Cena walking backstage. Meanwhile, Lawler said all the matches on tonight's show will be Elimination Chamber qualifiers. He said Cena would be in action after the break... [C]
The announcers hyped that Stacy Keibler will be the special guest star on this week's episode of USA Network's "Psych"...
1. John Cena defeated Cody Rhodes in an Elimination Chamber qualifier in 3:00. The announcers noted that Sheamus would defend the WWE Championship in the Elimination Chamber. Cody got his share of offense in, including a moonsault onto the standing Cena for a near fall. However, Cena came right back and hit the Attitude Adjustment for the win.
Powell's POV: No surprise with the outcome of this match. I'm actually disappointed that Sheamus is defending the WWE Championship in the Elimination Chamber match. I'd rather see that match featured as a contender's match for whichever title Edge doesn't challenge for.
A video recapped the Montreal Screwjob from the 1997 Survivor Series...
A shot aired of Vince McMahon walking backstage. Josh "The Stalker" Matthews jumped out of nowhere and asked Vince if he's seen Bret Hart yet tonight. Vince said he has not and no one will because Bret won't show up. Vince entered his office and turned around with a surprised look on his face.
"Well, what a surprise," Vince said. "Who do you think you are barging into my office like this? Don't you Canadians have any humility at all?" He asked the person if he had anything to say and told him to get it off his chest. The camera pulled back and showed William Shatner, who said as a WWF fan, a Canadian, and as a human being he can't wait for Bret Hart to embarrass Vince tonight... [C]
[Q3] 2. Triple H defeated Jack Swagger in an Elimination Chamber qualifier in 9:05. They cut to commercial roughly a minute into the match after Swagger had been bumped to the floor. [C] Swagger got in his fair share of offense after the break, but the live crowd didn't buy into it. They popped for Hunter's comeback and cheered his signature spots.
Hunter went for the Pedigree at 8:05, but Swagger avoided it. Swagger came back with a Vader Bomb for a near fall, but Hunter kicked out at the last moment. The live crowd was not surprised by this development. They chanted Hunter's name as Swagger picked him up and pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Hunter broke free and hit the Pedigree for the win...
Powell's POV: A decent match, but it was hard to take anything Swagger did seriously when everyone knew what the result of the match would be. At least they got the two ultra-predictable matchups out of the way early. Here's hoping we get some matches were the outcomes aren't so predictable later in the show.
Lawler hyped Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton in a qualifying match for after the break...
Powell's POV: Damn, maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. Some wishes do come true!
[Q4] [C] In the greatest moment in the history of the guest host era, a video aired with William Shatner performing dramatic readings of the entrance songs of Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio. They plugged a fake DVD with Shatner performing the songs...
Powell's POV: Tremendous! That's the one WWE music DVD I would actually purchase.
Backstage, Triple H tried to talk with Shawn Michaels when Hornswoggle interrupted. I zoned out until Hornswoggle left the picture. Hunter questioned why Shawn would eliminate him from the Rumble and said he would never had done that to him. He smiled and said he would have done the same exact thing, but he never got the chance.
Shawn was in ultra-serious mode and spoke about his obsession with getting the rematch with Undertaker. Hunter said Shawn's lucky he wasn't suspended for attacking the referees. He told him he has to get a spot in the Elimination Chamber. He said he'd have no trouble going to WrestleMania and tearing the house down with Shawn if one of them won the WWE Title. Shawn patted Hunter's arm and left the room for his match...
Randy Orton made his entrance... [C]
The ad for ECW questioned who the ECW Champion is after the Royal Rumble... Still shots aired from the Sheamus vs. Randy Orton match. They aired highlights of Randy roughing up Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase afterward...
[Q5] 3. Randy Orton defeated Shawn Michaels in an Elimination Chamber qualifier in 6:40. Great intensity early with Orton backing Shawn into the corner, giving him a look of disdain, and then backing away. Orton backed him into the corner again and glared at Shawn as the ref scolded him. Orton swung and missed, and Shawn nailed him with a couple of chops.
Shawn teased Sweet Chin Music, but Orton ducked out of the ring. Shawn followed and then Orton caught him for the DDT off the ropes, but HBK escaped. Shawn came right back with a cross body block off the top rope for a near fall. Randy regained control of the offense and worked in a dropkick.
At 5:00, the two wrestlers fought for position on the ropes in a corner as the camera caught another great shot of the WrestleMania banner above them. HBK won the battle on the ropes and hit some of his signature offense. He tried to kick back to his feet in HBK style, but Orton was waiting and immediately turned it into a pin. Afterward, Shawn showed more frustration after Orton left the ring...
Powell's POV: A quality television match and I enjoyed the creative finish. The Shawn storyline is great as his frustration continues to build.
Highlights aired of the Jim Ross interview with Vince McMahon that was held after the Survivor Series. Vince delivered his classic "Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart" line... The announcers hyped that Bret confronting Vince was still to come... [C]
A video hyped that WrestleMania is only 55 days away...
[Q6] A shot aired of a band playing inside a Nashville bar. Cole said the city is one of his favorite places in the world. I don't know whether to hope Dixie Carter is watching or not. At ringside, the announcers agreed that HBK has had the most disappointing 24 hours of his career...
Backstage, Ted DiBiase apologized to Randy Orton, who glared at him and shook his hand until Ted stopped talking. Randy gritted his teeth and walked away...
4. Ted DiBiase defeated Mark Henry in an Elimination Chamber qualifier in 3:05. Henry took control early. He chased DiBiase to ringside, only to have Ted send him crashing shoulder-first into the ring steps. Ted worked the arm that Henry struck on the stairs for the remainder of the match and eventually scored the upset pin...
Powell's POV: The live crowd didn't react to Ted's offense during the match, but they seemed legitimately surprised by the outcome. I love it. The Ted and Randy saga should be fun to follow.
A split screen shot aired of Big Show and Kofi Kingston warming up for their qualifying match...
At ringside, the announcers noted the death of Jack Brisco and set up a video tribute... [C]
Powell's POV: Classy move. It still irks me that you have to die of acceptable causes in order to be mentioned on WWE television, but I'm still happy they've chosen to honor Brisco and Steve "Dr. Death" Williams in recent weeks. RIP.
Backstage, Kelly Kelly congratulated Gail Kim on advancing to the final of the Divas tournament. Maryse entered the picture and said she's been watching Michelle McCool and Mickie James on Smackdown. She said she doesn't want to be like that. Gail said they should show what women can do. Maryse said something in French, smiled, and walked away...
[Q7] Backstage, The Miz and Big Show were waiting inside Shatner's office in hopes of getting a tag title shot. C.M. Punk, Serena, and Luke Gallows entered the picture to say they deserved the shot they earned on Smackdown. Shatner showed up and stood between the teams. He mugged for the camera and a "Match Negotiator" logo popped up. Funny.
Shatner listened to both arguments and said he was going to make a deal. He announced that there would be a Triple Threat with both teams challenging DX for the Unified Tag Titles. Shatner looked at the camera and plugged something. He continued to stare and said, "Freeze frame"...
Inside the DX locker room, Hunter told Shawn that he's spiraling downward. He said Shawn is Mr. WrestleMania. "There are plenty of other guys you can compete with at WrestleMania," Hunter said. Shawn looked at him and replied, "Not for me," before walking away...
Cole recalled that Kofi had a spot in the Elimination Chamber match, but never got to compete. He stopped short of saying that he was attacked by Edge... [C] A commercial for Smackdown hyped that Edge would host "The Cutting Edge" with special guest The Undertaker...
5. Kofi Kingston defeated Big Show by DQ in an Elimination Chamber qualifier in 9:00. Before the bell, The Miz came out and joined the announcers on commentary. He said they would win the tag titles next week, Show would capture the WWE Championship at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, and they would possess all the belts. [C]
[Q8] After the break, Show dumped Kofi to ringside. Miz stood up and mocked Kofi. MVP entered through the crowd and attacked Miz, who snuck in a boot to the gut. MVP chased Miz to the back. Meanwhile, Kofi took control of the offense. Show sold an eye poke and grabbed Kofi. He wound up for a punch, swung and missed Kofi, and accidentally knocked out the referee. Show called for another ref and said he didn't mean to hit him. The second referee called for the bell and DQ'd Big Show.
Powell's POV: I didn't care for this finish just because I would have preferred to see Kingston enter the Elimination Chamber with some momentum. I guess they still have two weeks to give him that momentum, but the story of this match was Show flipping out and yelling, "It was an accident," to the fans afterward. Funny.
A video chronicled Bret Hart's appearance on the January 4 Raw... A shot aired of Vince McMahon walking backstage with a smile on his face... [C]
Powell's POV: The Bret videos have been great. I love the way they've teased his appearance throughout the show without actually showing a live shot of him on camera.
The announcers confirmed that Kofi is in the Elimination Chamber match... The announcers also announced that NASCAR driver Carl Edwards will be guest host of next week's WWE Raw. They also hyped the Triple Threat tag match for the Unified Tag Titles...
Jerry Lawler stood in the ring and introduced "my BFF" William Shatner. As always, the celebrity whore Bella Twins escorted the guest host to the ring. Shatner pretended to trip over the ropes and onto Lawler. "Are you okay?" Shatner asked him. Shatner introduced Bret Hart.
Bret came out to a nice ovation. Fortunately, he left those long, baggy shorts at home. Bret said it's been roughly a month since he last appeared on the show and that gave him time to put things in perspective.
[Overrun] Hart said people thought he was crazy for thinking he could make peace and put it all behind him. He said he was naive and wrong. "I didn't come here for any peace," Hart said. "I didn't come here for any closure." Bret said Vince better get his ass down to the ring. Vince didn't come out right away. "I don't like to wait," Bret said. "It only makes me madder."
Vince's music finally played and he strutted his way onto the stage and then pretended to be stunned that Bret was in the ring. Vince did the BMF strut to ringside, where he stopped and exchanged a long look with Hart. Vince finally entered the ring with a mic in hand.
Vince said he had a few things he wanted to get off his chest. He said he's never regretted a thing he's said or done to Vince. "Congratulations, that's the first honest thing you've ever said to me," Hart said. Bret said Vince is the world's greatest liar. "When it comes to lying, you're the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be."
Hart took exception to Vince previously claiming that he was like a father to him. "You couldn't lace up my father's jock strap," Hart said. Wait, Stu Hart's jock strap had laces? Anyway, Hart acknowledged his stroke. He said there were nights he cried himself to sleep and felt pathetic. He promised himself he'd get out of the wheelchair and would never feel pathetic again for the rest of his life.
"And then I came here," Bret noted. Hart said he came to WWE for all the right reasons, only to have Vince kick him in the guts and leave him feeling pathetic. Bret said he worked for Vince for 14 years. He said he always thought there would come a day when Vince would appreciate it.
Bret recalled Vince comparing him to chewing gum. "This stick of chewing gum has just enough flavor to kick your ass right here and right now," Bret said. Great line. Vince ran through Bret's various nicknames and concluded, "What a crock." He said that Bret thinks he's a hero when he's in Canada. "You're a wretch, your not a hero," Vince said.
Vince said he's never understood what the people see in Hart. "Honest to God, I don't get it," Vince said. "You're revered by these people, Bret, but I think you're pathetic. You have absolutely zero personality." Vince said that if it wasn't for Bret's opponents like Shawn Michaels, Mr. Perfect, and Steve Austin, Bret would be a footnote in the middle of the card.
"You have no charisma," Vince said. "You have no command of the English language. You have that hound dog face." Vince mocked Bret's greasy hair and questioned whether it's really his. "You deserved to be screwed," Vince said.
Vince said the last time they were together, he said he was going to nominate Stu for the WWE Hall of Fame. "I've re-thought that," Vince said. "I'm not going to induct your father into the Hall of Fame, Bret, because he doesn't deserve it." Bret kicked Vince in the but and then pulled his suit jacket over his head and blasted him with a few punches in NHL style.
Bret set up Vince for the Sharpshooter. Suddenly, Batista hit the ring and hit Hart with repeated shots to the side. Hart fell to his knees. Vince instructed Batista to pick him up and hold him. Batista obliged. Vince talked smack without a mic in hand and then spat in Bret's face. The live crowd chanted for John Cena as the show went off the air...
Powell's POV: The live crowd is probably right. It looks like we could get a Batista and Vince vs. Bret and Cena match at WrestleMania. Strong segment with excellent mic work from both men. Overall, a strong show with all the matches meaning something because of the Elimination Chamber qualifying gimmick. Some were predictable, but they all meant something. Throw in Edge's return to non-PPV television and it really was a strong show. I'll have much more to say about it tonight in Dot Net Members' audio, and in the WWE Raw Hitlist on Tuesday. Read the signup information below to find out how you can score access to the Dot Net Members' website for just $5 per month.
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