WWE PPV Flashback: 2009 Bragging Rights - John Cena vs. Randy Orton in an Iron Man match for the WWE Title, Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Batista for the World Hvt. Championship
The following is Jason Powell's review of the October 25, 2009 WWE Bragging Rights pay-per-view. Check back tonight for Chris Shore and Ryan Kester's live coverage reviews of WWE Vengeance. Dot Net Members can look forward to an exclusive audio review later tonight. Join them on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
Aired live on pay-per-view
Pittsburgh, Pa. at Mellon Arena
The show opened with a video hyping the Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown match and the supposed rivalry between the two brands... Pyro exploded on the stage to open the show. Michael Cole welcomed viewers to the show and then introduced the "Bragging Rights trophy." Yes, they have a Bragging Rights trophy...
Powell's POV: I guess the trophy is a logical idea, but you'd think they would have hyped it up before the show.
The Miz came to the ring. A video recapped the recent Dirt Sheet with Miz and Morrison arguing over which one of them was more like Marty Jannetty... Morrison came out and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw a middle-aged man dressed in Road Warrior gear standing in the front row. Funny...
1. The Miz defeated John Morrison in a non-title match in 10:55. It's a three-man booth with Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Todd Grisham on commentary tonight. They aired a shot of Team Smackdown watching this match on a backstage monitor. We also got a shot of Team Raw watching the match. The announcers stressed that the winners of the two matches that feature Raw vs. Smackdown matches will win the Bragging Rights trophy.
Morrison scored the first nearfall of the match, but Miz got his feet on the ropes at 9:00. Morrison set up for his finisher, but Miz rolled out of the ring. Later, Morrison went for the move again, but Miz knocked him off the ropes and pinned him for the upset win. They showed Team Raw celebrating backstage...
Powell's POV: I'm surprised by the outcome of that match. No complaints, though, as Miz needs the win more than Morrison. This all but guarantees the Smackdown team will win the women's match so that the big tag match can decide it. Miz vs. Morrison was solid, but there was nothing particularly memorable about the match. By the way, the ring is split down the middle with blue ropes on one side and red ropes on the other side.
At ringside, Lawler predicted a clean sweep for Raw... Backstage, Cody Rhodes bragged to the trainer that Raw was going to sweep. R-Truth entered the picture and took exception. Big Show came in and told Truth to tell his teammates that Team Raw let's their actions speak for themselves...
DX is featured in the Survivor Series commercial...
2. Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, and Natalya defeated Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, and Melina. The Smackdown team took turns working over Kelly early. Natalya threw three horrible knees at Kelly's stomach. In the end, Beth hit her finisher on Melina and scored the pin for her team. They showed Team Smackdown celebrating backstage...
Powell's POV: There was no mystery regarding the outcome of the match, but at least they were wise enough to have the Miz vs. Morrison match on first.
Backstage, Shawn and Hunter shook their heads in disappointment while watching the monitor. They addressed the other members of their team. They mocked Mark Henry over the Mae Young skits. They mocked Big Show over the time they shoved Vince McMahon's head up his ass. They recalled beating Cody so bad he had to be stretchered out.
They mocked Kofi Kingston by saying they outed him as a phony Jamaican. He said he did it out of respect for his Jamaican heritage. Shawn said no one liked him or Hunter on the team. "True," Show said. Hornswoggle entered the picture in DX gear after Shawn said he'd use the next guy he saw if Jack Swagger didn't want to be on the team. Finally, they all put their hands together and said, "Raw." Shawn delivered the "If you're not down with that we got two words for you" line and the crowd responded, "New Material!" Okay, so they really didn't...
Powell's POV: This team stuff is really campy. WWE just didn't do enough to make this seem meaningful before tonight. Oh, and that trophy is just plain weak. I think we won that same model back in Little League for taking third place. I wonder if Team Smackdown will get participation ribbons?
A video hyped the four-way match...
3. Undertaker beat Rey Mysterio, C.M. Punk, and Batista in a four-way to retain the World Hvt. Championship in 10:00. Tony Chimel handled the in-ring introductions for the championship match. Punk threw his shirt at Batista during the introductions. When the bell rang, Batista chased Punk out of the ring and then back inside. Punk got away when Batista ran into a clothesline from Taker.
Rey got a nice flurry of offense on Taker. However, Taker ultimately didn't sell the effects as he quickly regained his composure and nailed Rey with a big boot. Later, there was a spot where Taker was down and both Rey and Batista had chances to cover him, but they just stared at each other. Rey finally went for it, but Taker reached up and grabbed him by the throat. Right about that time, a fan held up a "Roidtista" sin in the second or third row.
At 7:45, Batista hit the Batista Bomb on Taker and went for the cover. Rey ran in and shoved him off and went for the cover himself. Batista shoved him off and covered Taker again. After Taker kicked out, Batista scolded Mysterio. "You were supposed to be my friend," Batista said. Ugh.
Later, Batista cleared Punk from the ring. Rey dove onto Batista, who caught him and threw him onto Punk at ringside. Rey hit hard on the floor. Batista turned around and Taker hit him with the Tombstone piledriver for the clean pin.
After the match, Josh Matthews entered the ring and said, "Rey, Batista, I know you're both hurt right now, but if you don't mind..." Awkward. Josh asked how it felt to come so close to becoming the new champion. Rey spoke about how close they came. He hugged Batista, who was selling the finish and acted too loopy to reciprocate.
Batista took the mic and said Rey thinks they were close. He asked the fans if they agreed. He said he didn't think they came close. "I think I came close," Batista said. Batista added that he was tired of his best friend stabbing him in the back. Rey tried to calm him down off-mic. He said he was going to rip Rey's head off. He dropped the mic and clotheslined him.
A short time later, Batista grabbed Mysterio around the throat at ringside. Mysterio pleaded with him to stop. Batista flung Rey into the guardrail. He started to leave, but returned one more time to kick Mysterio. "How he can blame Rey Mysterio is beyond me," Lawler said. "I don't know how he can be proud of himself after that."
Powell's POV: Wow, they really miss Jim Ross. Lawler's verbiage was straight out of the mouth of an elderly woman. Batista's heel turn was okay. Batista looked bad ass tossing little Rey around, but I can't help but think that this would have meant so much more on the Raw brand where he can actually feud with the money babyfaces who need fresh opponents to work with.
A video hyped the Iron Man match... A video featured fan comments on whether the Raw or Smackdown team would win... DX received their own entrances. The rest of the team came out to the Raw entrance theme. Chris Jericho and Kane received their own entrances. The rest of the team came out to the new Smackdown theme...
4. Chris Jericho, Kane, David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd, Matt Hardy, Finlay, and R-Truth defeated Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Mark Henry, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, and Cody Rhodes in a seven-on-seven tag in 15:40. Cole ran through the basic history of the Raw show (how long it's been on the air, episode count, etc.). Grisham did the same for Smackdown and pointed out that it's on network television.
The Smackdown wrestlers wore blue Smackdown shirts. The Raw wrestlers wore red Raw shirts. Well, except for Hunter and Shawn, who wore DX shirts. Shawn had a Raw shirt hanging from his back. Swagger had his shirt torn off early in the match and now everyone watching at home is struggling to figure out which team he represents. Yes, I'm kidding. Swagger actually put the shirt back on once he tagged out.
There was a good spot early with HBK hitting (being nice) Sweet Chin Music on Finlay. The Hart Dynasty entered the match and Tyson Kidd hit a springboard clothesline on Shawn. Good action later with Kofi Kingston pushing Jericho and scoring a couple nice near falls. Henry caught Truth diving onto him at ringside. Hardy dove off the top rope and knocked Henry down. Cool spot.
Later, Kofi had Jericho down and went to the top rope. However, Big Show reached up and grabbed Kofi by the throat and chokeslammed him off the ropes. A surprised Hunter entered the ring with a surprised look. Show tagged Hunter with the knockout punch. Jericho recovered and pinned Kofi. Afterward, Team Smackdown celebrated in the ring with the trophy. Lawler questioned how they could be happy winning like that. Cole said he was shocked...
Powell's POV: There were a few fun spots and good action throughout the match, but it was no different than any tag match with a bunch of participants. Basically, this was a TV main event on pay-per-view. Show had nice heat from the live crowd for turning. It was just hard to buy into the whole Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry.
A shot aired of Cena backstage... A video hyped the Cena vs. Orton main event... A shot aired of Kofi walking backstage. Cody approached him and told him he should be holding his head in shame. Kofi blamed Big Show. Cody said Kofi was the weak link. They fought briefly and Cody threw him down...
Powell's POV: The main event needs to be more than just good to get people talking about this show. There's been nothing truly memorable about this show so far. The Batista turn was okay, but it doesn't lead to many intriguing matchups, so it's hard to get excited about it. Overall, though, it's been a very forgettable night so far.
5. John Cena defeated Randy Orton in an Iron Man match to win the WWE Championship. Justin Roberts informed us before the match that falls count anywhere and there would be a 30-second interval between falls. Roberts handled the in-ring introductions. At 4:00, Cena applied the STF. Orton immediately tapped out. Lawler said it was strategy in the sense that Orton didn't let it hurt him. Cena leads 1-0.
Orton locked in the first Chinlock of Doom about six minutes in. That can't bode well for this match. Cena fought out of it a couple minutes later. Cena fought out and came back with a top rope legdrop. He did the "You can't see me" bit and then ran the ropes, but Orton popped up and hit the RKO for the pin at 9:00. Orton tied the match 1-1.
Orton took control of the match and bumped Cena to ringside. He cleared the announcers table and then slammed one of the monitors into Cena's head. He looked at the monitor afterward. He grabbed the house mic and teased talking, only to slam it into Cena's head. Cena was bleeding from the head. The trainer tried to tend to Cena, but he blew him off and charged at Orton. Cena hit a brief flurry of offense, but Orton quickly regained control.
Cena came back again with another flurry that concluded with an attempted Attitude Adjustment. However, Orton countered with the RKO in mid-air. They sold it as if both men took the other's finisher. Cena had his arm over Orton, who had to adjust to put the right arm over Cena. The referee counted the double pin. Both wrestlers scored simultaneous pins to keep the match tied at 2-2.
The medical staff entered the ring during the 30-second rest period. They cleaned up Cena and the announcers said it appeared they super glued his head shut. Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment after the break. He crawled over and covered Orton to get the pin at 19:25. Cena takes the lead 3-2.
During the interval, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase hit the ring and attacked Cena. The announcers said it wasn't ethical, but it was legal. DiBiase hit Dream Street on Cena. They rolled Orton on top of Cena and then watched the referee count to three at 21:45. Orton tied the match 3-3.
Powell's POV: Is there more to come with Rhodes and Orton tonight? If not, then why in the world did they give us their match last week when they could have saved it for a week when it could have been spotlighted? Good match so far. They're keeping it interesting with rapid fire finishes, but they can't keep doing that without it becoming repetitive. The RKO out of the Attitude Adjustment was well done and should have been used to set up the finish of one of their matches.
Kofi Kingston ran out with a chair and ran off Rhodes and DiBiase. Orton took control of the match and beat up Cena at ringside and then into the tech area. Orton slammed Cena's head onto a piece of equipment that made the pyro go off on the stage. Orton looked surprised and then backed away.
Orton grabbed Cena and threw him through the corner of the set. He crashed through the lights and a board. Orton covered him and pinned him at 26:20. Orton took the lead 4-3.
The announcers said they're not even allowed in the area where Orton threw Cena. Randy walked over to the production area and hit a couple of buttons that made two more pyro explosions on the stage. He dragged Cena into position over one of the pyro areas. One of the production workers tried to stop him. Orton grabbed him by the collars and said, "You don't tell me what to do."
Orton tapped the button, but it didn't go off. He slammed his hand repeatedly on the board and finally a big blast went off, but Cena had already rolled out of the way. Orton went up and attacked Cena on the stage with repeated punches.
Powell's POV: Great filler that could have lasted a little longer given that they were just over halfway through the match. It's been action packed for the first 30 minutes, but they still have to keep the crowd for 30 more minutes.
Orton continued his attack on Cena at ringside. He threw the ring steps at Cena, who put his hands up. It still looked great, but the live crowd was a little drained and didn't react. Orton finally rolled Cena back inside the ring at 32:30. Orton had been dominating, but Cena caught him in a small package and got the pin at 34:10. Cena tied the match 4-4.
Cena continued to writhe in pain despite getting the pin. Orton was fuming throughout the 30-second break. Randy pulled him through the ropes so that Cena's legs were resting on the ring. Orton hit the DDT and pinned Cena on the floor at 35:05. Orton took the lead 5-4.
The match mostly dragged for the next ten minutes. Cena made a brief comeback, but Orton remained in control for the most part and the fans were bored by it. Cena avoided the DDT off the ropes spot at 44:00. Orton fled ringside through the crowd as he tried to retain his one fall lead. Cena chased him and caught up to him near the top of the first bowl.
Cena roughed up Orton in the crowd and knocked him down the steps. Orton took a slow tumble down. Cena continued to beat him up all the way down the steps and then they ended up fighting at ringside. Lawler noted the possibility of overtime by pointing out that Cena would need two pinfalls to win within regulation time.
Cena whipped Orton through the barricade where the timekeeper sits. Orton crashed hard. Cena placed on piece of the ring steps next to the announcers' table on Lawler's side. He picked up the other piece rammed them into Orton's head. Cena looked at the announcers (or fans behind them) and said, "Finish him" at 49:30.
Cena assembled the ring stops on the side of the announcers' table. He picked up Orton off the floor. Randy hung his arms in a lifeless manner. Cena put Orton over his shoulder and walked over to the steps, walked to the top of the steps, and put Orton through the table with the Attitude Adjustment for the pin at 50:45. Cena tied the match 5-5.
Cena waited for the 30-second interval to end. When it did, he raced over to Orton and covered him again, but Randy kicked out. Cena pulled out a table and slid it inside the ring. Cena dragged Orton back inside and placed him on the table. Cena went up for the leg drop off the top rope, but Orton moved and Cena crashed through the table at 55:00.
Orton hit his first offensive move in a while by getting to his knees and punching Cena. They traded punches. Eventually, Cena went for a running shoulder block. Orton missed and Cena knocked the referee down. Orton hit the RKO, but the referee was bumped and couldn't count the pin. A second referee ran out and Cena kicked out at the two. Orton stood up and shoved the second referee to the ground.
Orton fumed in the ring. Lawler said he wanted to see overtime. Then he said it looked like Orton was having a nervous breakdown in the ring. Randy backed up and went for the punt kick, but Cena moved. Cena caught Orton in the STF with less than a minute left. Orton tapped at 59:55. The clock counted to zero even though there technically should have been five seconds left (and a 30-second rest period). Cena won the match 6-5.
Powell's POV: Excellent match. Much better than expected. They were wise to make it a falls count anywhere match, which allowed them to work in the pyro spots and brawl through the crowd. There was one stretch where fans were bored with seeing Orton on offense, but the match was rarely dull. Good work by both men. This made the show worthwhile. It didn't make it a passable pay-per-view because the first two hours were weak, but I don't think too many viewers will feel completely ripped off like they must have during those first 120 minutes.
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