Reviews

Retro Reviews: WWE Bragging Rights 2009

The first-ever Bragging Rights pay-per-view came at a time when WWE thought that Raw vs. Smackdown was a compelling storyline. In reality, I don’t think the fans ever cared that much about the Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry or that “brand supremacy” mattered that much. Most people that watched WWE (and still watch it) will watch both shows, so did it really matter if Raw was better than Smackdown or vice versa? Not really. This show featured three Raw vs. Smackdown along with two major title matches. It was only a five-match show.

The main event was a familiar match with Randy Orton defending the WWE Championship against John Cena. They wrestled eachother many times over the previous three years, so they upped the ante this time by doing a 60-minute Ironman Match where anything goes. Cena could either leave with the WWE Title or leave Raw as per the deal they made.

Bragging Rights did 181,000 buys on pay-per-view. That’s on the low end for PPV buys in 2009, but not the worst of the year. In that era, if it was under 200k buys, it was not a good sign.

This show followed Hell in a Cell 2009 while leading into Survivor Series 2009.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“John Cena challenges Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in a One Hour, Anything Goes WWE Iron Man Match. Undertaker defends the World Heavyweight Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Match against CM Punk, Batista, and Rey Mysterio. Bragging Rights are on the line in a 14-Man Tag Team Match where Team Raw takes on Team SmackDown.” PG (V)

The DVD looks like this:

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWE Bragging Rights
From Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
October 25, 2009

The show began with a video package that let us know it’s all about the bragging rights. Sure it is.

The pyro went off on the stage and they were a sold out Mellon Arena with the fans looking ready to go. They showed the Bragging Rights trophy at ringside. Michael Cole was on commentary with Jerry Lawler and Todd Grisham sitting between them. They said Jim Ross was ill, so he was off this show. The announce team at the time was Cole/Lawler on Raw and Grisham/JR on Smackdown.

There were three Smackdown vs. Raw matches, so whoever wins at least two out of three will win that Bragging Rights trophy.

The Miz was up first for his match against John Morrison. They used to be a tag team, but they are now singles champions. They talked about how tag teams break up where somebody might be a top guy like Shawn Michaels while another guy will fizzle out like Marty Jannetty, so they bickered about that. Morrison called Miz “Jannetty” in their last faceoff. Morrison was up for his slow-motion entrance. They showed Smackdown’s roster watching on a TV backstage and then Raw was shown watching as well.

The Miz (Raw) vs. John Morrison (Smackdown)

Pre-match notes: The Miz was the heel US Champion from Raw while Morrison was the face Intercontinental Champion from Smackdown.

They were battling over moves early on with Morrison hitting a couple of shoulder tackles to take down Miz and then Miz bailed to the floor. Miz was wrestling with a mouthguard, which he didn’t do that often in his career. Miz with a headlock, Morrison came back with a flatliner and a standing SSP for a two count. Miz stomped on Morrison followed by Miz tossing Morrison out of the ring, which drew boos. Morrison with a punch to the ribs and then a rollup for two. Morrison avoided a charging Miz and then Morrison hit a clothesline to the floor. Morrison with a dropkick while Miz was on the floor. Back in the ring, Morrison went for a headscissors-like move, but Miz shoved him over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Miz with a belly to back suplex for two. A fan had a “Mizzy Jannetty” sign in the crowd since that’s what Morrison called Miz on Smackdown. Morrison broke free from a submission with a jumping kick. Miz came back with a corner clothesline and a knee lift on the apron. Miz grabbed a chinlock, Morrison with punches and a rollup got two. They exchanged kicks to the body, punches, then elbows and Morrison hit a spin kick to the body. Morrison with a running forearm followed by a clothesline. Morrison with a jumping side kick for two. Miz countered a running kick into a rollup for two. Morrison punched Miz repeatedly. Morrison hit the springboard kick for a two count with Miz getting his left foot on the bottom rope. Miz bailed to the floor, so Morrison hit a twisting dive over the top onto Miz for a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle, Miz knocked him down and hit a double axhandle. Miz wanted a Skull Crushing Finale, Morrison got out of that, Morison with a Russian legsweep and Morrison went up top. Morrison went for a Skull Crushing Finale, but Miz shoved his legs and Morrison went tumbling down, so Miz covered to win.

Winner by pinfall: The Miz

Analysis: **3/4 It was an average match that was even most of the way. Morrison had some cool highspots during the match while Miz slowed it down and got in some cheap shots too. Morrison had more believable nearfalls towards the end, but in the end, it was Miz finding a way to get the win. I thought the finish was a bit flat because it was just Miz shoving Morrison off the top to win, but it also showed how crafty Miz was. I just think it would have been better if Morrison kicked out and then Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale to win. This kind of ending made Morrison look weak a bit.

They had a rundown of Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown in a 7 on 7 match later in the show.

Cody Rhodes was talking to a trainer saying it will be a clean sweep for Raw over Smackdown. R-Truth went up to Cody saying Smackdown would win. Rhodes said that R-Truth lost his qualifying match, but then got to be in the match after being part of a tag team match. Cody said that Truth is a second-rate wrestler on a second-rate show. R-Truth told Cody that his daddy is the reason Cody is on Raw, Randy Orton is why Cody has had any success and it wouldn’t surprise him if Cody is the one that gets pinned. Truth said that’s the truth and the truth hurts. Big Show from Raw said that R-Truth should tell Chris Jericho, Kane and everybody else in a blue shirt that Raw will let their actions speak for themselves. Truth left.

It’s the second Team Smackdown vs. Team Raw match with Women’s Champion Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix & Natalya up first. The Raw team was cheered led by Divas Champion Melina, Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly.

Melina, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim (Raw) vs. Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix & Natalya (Smackdown)

Pre-match notes: It was the second Raw vs. Smackdown match. It’s a mix of heels and faces with McCool as a main heel on Smackdown.

Kim got a rollup, Phoenix got out of it and decked Kim with a punch. McCool tagged in, so Kim hit her with a hurricanrana. Kim got a rollup on Natalya, but then Natalya hit a body slam. Kim avoided an elbow drop and Kim hit a cross body block against the turnbuckle. Kim jumped on Natalya’s back for a two count. Kelly Kelly tagged into a pretty good pop. Kelly hit a headscissors on Natalya, but then Natalya came back with a power move as she sent Kelly into the top rope. Kelly fought out of the Smackdown corner with a sunset flip attempt and then McCool stomped on Kelly to keep her down. Phoenix kept Kelly from tagging out and worked her over with punches. McCool applied a tight headlock on the mat. McCool slammed Kelly down by the hair followed by a knee lift. Phoenix tagged herself in and Kelly hit a hurricanrana for two. Kelly hit a jawbreaker on Phoenix, so then Melina tagged in for the first time. Melina with a dropkick on Phoenix and she sent Beth into the ropes so Melina could hit a double knee attack. Melina with a hair pull sent Phoenix into the mat. Phoenix got a two count after McCool flipped Phoenix on top of Melina. Good spot by Melina floating over Beth’s shoulders and sending her into the mat. All of the women got sent out of the ring, so then it was Beth and Melina left in the ring. Beth tried to send Melina into the turnbuckle, they messed that up and then Phoenix hit the Glam Slam on Melina for the pinfall win at 6:54.

Winners by pinfall: Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix & Natalya

Analysis: ** It was a decent tag team match. Most women’s matches in this era were not that long, so keeping it under ten minutes was common. Beth was recently moved to Smackdown before this, so this was done to put her over to give her momentum as a future opponent of McCool.

The win by Smackdown meant that each show had one win with one more match left in the Raw vs. Smackdown story.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels talked to the five guys on their Raw team. Triple H said that they can’t lose. Jack Swagger said he’s on the team, so they aren’t going to lose. Shawn Michaels said that Swagger has talent, but he doesn’t have respect. Triple H mentioned that they didn’t always get along with everybody here while mentioning Mark Henry having a baby with Mae Young, shoving Vince McMahon’s head up Big Show’s, beat up Cody so bad he left on a stretcher and mentioned Kofi had a fake Jamaican accent. Kofi said he only did that to pay tribute to Jamaican heritage. Michaels said that people may not like them, but they are respected. Michaels said he could replace Swagger with the first person he sees and there was Hornswoggle in DX gear, so there’s the joke. Hunter said that this is about honor, pride and being able to walk into the locker room and look the Smackdown guys in the eyes. Hunter asked if they are ready. All seven guys put their hands in and yelled “Raw” leading to Shawn saying if you’re not down with that, we’ve got two words for ya. The fans chanted “suck it” on cue.

Analysis: It was fine as a segment to try to make people care about the 7 on 7 tag team match. Did it work? Probably not. It didn’t feel like a big match.

The video package aired for the Fatal 4-Way match for the World Heavyweight Champion with The Undertaker defending against CM Punk (who he beat to win the title), Batista and Rey Mysterio. It featured Undertaker doing promos about the three opponents.

Batista entered first with a good ovation for him. Rey Mysterio was up next as another babyface in the match. Rey and Batista greeted eachother with a handshake in the ring. CM Punk was up next as the former World Heavyweight Champion that was having a great year. Big ovation for The Undertaker as the slow-walking World Heavyweight Champion. The four guys stood in the ring as Tony Chimel did the championship introductions. The Undertaker got the biggest ovation.

World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker vs. CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Batista

Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the babyface World Heavyweight Champion, Batista was a face, Rey Mysterio was a face and CM Punk was the lone heel in the match. The Undertaker was the oldest guy in the match at 45 years old and he was still wrestling a regular schedule.

Punk decked Rey with a running clothesline and then he left the ring. Back in the ring, Taker hit Batista with a clothesline. Punk worked over Taker with kicks, but then Taker grabbed him and tossed Punk over the top to the floor. Rey hit a senton dive onto Punk on the floor. Undertaker with a leaping clothesline on Batista. Rey kicked Taker out of the ring, but then Taker was back in with a boot to the face. Taker did the Old School rope walk leading to a punch to the back. Punk tossed Rey to the floor. Punk went for a move off the ropes on Taker, but Taker fought back with headbutts. Punk delivered a superplex to Undertaker off the middle ropes for two. Punk sent Rey out of the ring. Batista with a clothesline on Punk, then another clothesline and a powerslam. Taker hit Batista with a boot to the face. Rey jumped onto Taker, but Taker caught him and Batista got back into it with a Spear on Taker. Rey and his buddy Batista stared at eachother not sure what to do, Taker grabbed Rey and Batista hit Taker in the back. Rey hit a 619 kick on Taker and Batista hit a spinebuster for two as Punk broke up the pin. Rey went up top, Punk got him on the shoulder and Punk hit Rey with a Go to Sleep knee to the face for two with Batista breaking up the pin. Taker applied the Hell’s Gate submission on Batista, but Punk broke it up. Punk hit a running knee to Undertaker’s face, but then Taker caught Punk with a Last Ride Powerbomb for two with Batista breaking up the pin. Taker and Batista exchanged punches leading to Taker hitting a Chokeslam on Batista for two as Punk broke up the pin. Punk with a kick to the gut of Taker, but then Taker tossed a charging Punk over the top to the floor. Taker was alone with Batista, but Batista slipped out of a move and Batista hit a Batista Bomb on Taker for two because Rey shoved Batista off. Rey covered Taker and Batista shoved Rey off. Batista yelled at Rey: “You’re supposed to be my friend! What the hell!” Batista shoved Rey out of the ring. Taker with another Chokeslam to Batista. Taker got a two count as Batista got his left shoulder up. Taker and Batista hit a double clothesline with Punk going back in for a two count on both guys. Batista sent Punk out of the ring. Rey jumped onto Batista, who tossed Rey over the top on Punk. When Batista turned around, Undertaker was there and Taker hit Batista with a Tombstone piledriver for the pinfall win at 9:57.

Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker

Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good for a very fast-paced match. I was a bit surprised that they went under ten minutes, but that’s what happened and to their credit, they made the most of their time. There were no rest holds or many submissions. It was more about hitting big moves. The most interesting part of the match was the Batista/Rey spot with Batista getting mad at Rey for breaking up a pin, then Batista tossing Rey onto Punk and Undertaker capitalized on the situation to get the Tombstone for the win. The finish was booked well.

The Undertaker celebrated with the World Heavyweight Title and went to the back.

There was a post-match angle with Josh Mathews in the ring to interview Rey Mysterio and Batista. Rey said that they did their best, they had a confrontation and Rey apologized to Batista. They hugged although it was a reluctant hug on Batista’s part. Batista was selling what happened in the match. Rey said it was every man for himself, they didn’t win tonight and it’ll be another day. Batista asked the fans if they were close to winning and the fans cheered. Batista said they weren’t close, but he was close. Batista said that he was tired of coming this close and he also thinks he’s tired of his best friend stabbing him in the back. Rey wondered why Batista would say that. Batista said that he wasn’t playing. Batista: “I’m gonna rip your head off!” Batista nailed Rey with a huge clothesline. Some fans cheered, but there were boos. Batista kicked Rey out of the ring. Batista grabbed Rey: “You’re supposed to be my friend!” Rey begged him to calm down, but instead, Batista whipped him into the barricade. Batista delivered a running kick to Rey’s head while referee Jack Doan tried to get Batista to stop. Batista walked up the aisle towards the back.

Analysis: There’s the heel turn for Batista. It was nearly five years for Batista in the babyface role since he turned face in January 2005 and this was October 2009, so that’s a long run as a face. I thought this was well done and Batista showing “you’re supposed to be my friend” was a memorable thing about this. They did a nice job of making this feel like a personal thing between two friends. This was probably one of the better heel turns of this era because Batista was a big name that was a face for so long, so it was a big deal for him to turn.

There was a “Please Don’t Try This At Home” video.

A graphic was shown of combined weight and titles between the two teams.

There was a video with some fans making predictions between Team Raw and Team Smackdown.

Shawn Michaels and Triple H were up first to the Degeneration X theme song as the captains of Team Raw. The rest of Team Raw made their entrance: Big Show, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Mark Henry.

Analysis: As I write this in 2021, four of the seven guys on Team Raw are working for AEW.

Team Smackdown leaders Chris Jericho and Kane were up first with their own music. The rest of Team Smackdown was Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth and The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd & DH Smith). Referee Charles Robinson held up the Bragging Rights trophy.

For the Bragging Rights Trophy: Team SmackDown (Chris Jericho, Kane, David Hart Smith, Finlay, Matt Hardy, R-Truth & Tyson Kidd) vs. Team Raw (Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston & Mark Henry)

Pre-match notes: The teams are a mix of faces and heels. The first pinfall or submission wins the match. Jericho and Big Show were Unified Tag Team Champions, but they were on opposite teams for this match.

The Raw guys were wearing red Raw shirts except for Triple H and Michaels in DX shirts. Team Smackdown were all wearing blue Smackdown shirts. Truth with a jumping kick on Cody for two, then Cody sent into the ropes and Show tagged in, so Kane faced off against him. Show missed a corner attack on Kane, then Kane with a clothesline and Show hit Kane with a shoulder tackle. Show with a leg drop on Kane for two. Swagger tagged in with some trash talk, but Kane decked him with punches. Hardy tagged in with a clothesline on Swagger. Hardy with a boot to the face of a charging Swagger. Hardy with a leg drop off the middle rope for two. Swagger left the ring, so Hardy hit him with a clothesline. Cody grabbed Matt, which led to Matt looking at Cody and Swagger sent Matt into the ring post. Henry tagged in with an arm wringer followed by a headbutt. Henry missed an elbow drop when Matt moved, but then Henry tossed Matt into the Raw corner. Michaels tagged in to a big pop with “HBK” chants for the Heartbreak Kid, who was 44 at this point. Michaels sent Hardy into the turnbuckle, but then Hardy hit a Side Effect slam. Finlay tagged in against Michaels with a running body attack, body slam and elbow drop. Finlay whipped Michaels into the turnbuckle with Shawn doing an upside-down bump. Finlay bounced off the turnbuckle and they did a collision spot where they bumped into eachother.

Michaels shoved Finlay off and hit Sweet Chin Music superkick, but DH Smith tagged in and Kidd did a springboard clothesline combo on Michaels for a two count. Smith with a body slam on Michaels. Jericho tagged in with a chinlock, Michaels with punches and a rollup for two. Jericho came back with a clothesline for two. Kane tagged in with a low dropkick on Michaels. Smith grounded Michaels with a chinlock, Michaels fought out of it and Smith hit a belly to back suplex. Kidd tagged in going for a springboard elbow, but Michaels moved. Triple H tagged in for the first time to a big pop as Hunter hit Kidd with a knee, a facebuster to Smith and a clothesline. Hunter gave Finlay a spinebuster on Smith and gave Kidd a spinebuster on Finlay. Kane went into the ring illegally and hit a Chokeslam on Hunter with Kidd crawling over for a delayed cover that got a two count. Jericho was back in with a bulldog on Hunter. Jericho went for a Lionsault, but Hunter moved and Jericho hit the mat. Kofi Kingston tagged in for the first time with chops, dropkicks and a leaping clothesline. Kofi went for the Boom Drop, but Jericho countered and Kofi countered that into a two count. Kofi got back up and hit a Trouble in Paradise kick for two as the Hart Dynasty made the save. Henry tagged in with a double clothesline on Hart/Smith. Hardy and Truth took down Henry, then out of the ring and Hardy jumped onto Henry, who had caught truth. Finlay with a rolling senton slam on Cody. Swagger with a Gutwrench Powerbomb on Finlay. Kane with a boot to Swagger and Show with a Spear on Kane. Kofi was legal against Jericho, Show looked like he was going to help Kofi win, but then Show got a hold of Kofi and gave him a Chokeslam in the ring. Hunter tried to go after Big Show, but Show punched Hunter with a KO Punch. The fans booed Show loudly as he left the ring to loud boos. Jericho crawled over to Kingston and covered Kofi for the pinfall win. It went 15:34.

Winners by pinfall: Team SmackDown (Chris Jericho, Kane, David Hart Smith, Finlay, Matt Hardy, R-Truth & Tyson Kidd)

Analysis: ***1/2 This was pretty good especially towards the end of the match. It was typical of WWE multi-person tag team match where people hit a big move, then bump to the floor and go to the finish at that point. Some of the guys were barely in the ring because there were 14 wrestlers in the match, but I liked how it was booked. Big Show turning heel against Team Raw was not a surprise considering how much Show turned in his career and he was a Tag Team Champion with Jericho, it was fitting for Jericho. What shocked me is how much the fans cared about it by the end of the match. They were going crazy when guys like Triple H and Kofi tagged in near the end of the match and I’m just sitting here wondering why do you care so much about who wins a trophy? I’ll give the wrestlers credit for making people care. I wouldn’t say there was one person that stood out in this match, but I think it was smart to have Jericho get the pin for his team as a leader of Smackdown and Show’s teammate as well.

The Smackdown team celebrated with the Bragging Rights trophy and had to try to sell the idea that it was a big deal. It was almost funny watching them try to celebrate with the trophy. They showed replays of Big Show’s turn on Team Raw. The Smackdown guys continued to celebrate the win with Jericho hugging the trophy.

Analysis: After this, the trophy was proudly displayed on Smackdown for several weeks and then it was forgotten until the next year’s Bragging Rights show.

A commercial aired for the WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 video game.

John Cena was shown standing backstage preparing for his WWE Title match.

There was a video package covering the rivalry between WWE Champion Randy Orton and John Cena. It was a long history going back a few years. If Cena wins then he becomes WWE Champion, but if he loses then he must leave Raw. That was the stipulation. The video was excellent.

Kofi Kingston was walking down a hallway with Cody Rhodes confronting him. Cody said that Team Raw lost because of him. Kofi blamed Big Show, but Cody said that Kofi was the one that got pinned. Kofi wanted him to get out of his face and Cody whipped Kofi into an equipment case. Kofi was down.

The announcement of the main event made it clear that it’s an Anything Goes 60-Minute Ironman Match where falls count anywhere.

Randy Orton was up first as the WWE Champion. Orton won the WWE Title from John Cena three weeks earlier at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. It was the sixth Ironman Match in WWE history. John Cena entered to a huge reaction that was a mix of cheers and boos as usual, but it was still loud. It was a serious version of Cena this time since he knew he had to win.

Anything Goes 60-Minute Ironman Match for the WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. John Cena

Pre-match notes: Randy Orton was the heel WWE Champion while John Cena was the babyface challenger that was the former WWE Champion.

There was a countdown clock counting down from 60:00 with a scoreboard on screen as well. Cena grounded Orton with a headlock, Orton with some punches and it was Orton’s turn to grab a headlock. Cena got some momentum with a hiptoss, but Orton came back with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Cena went for a bulldog, but Orton shoved him off. Orton worked over Cena with punches. Cena tripped up Orton and applied the STF. Orton tapped out quickly. They were less than four minutes into the match.

Cena 1-Orton 0

There was a 30 second clock between falls. Orton was fresh with a powerslam and a knee drop to the chest. Orton did some blatant choking by the ropes. Orton with a suplex on Cena leading to another chinlock for a couple of minutes. Cena with a kick to the gut followed by the Throwback neckbreaker. Cena jumped off the top with a leg drop to the back of the neck. Cena wanted the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton popped up and hit an RKO for the pinfall.

Cena 1-Orton 1

Orton with a running body attack that knocked Cena off the apron to the floor. Orton grabbed a hold of Cena on the floor and sent him into the ring apron. Orton cleared off the commentary table. Orton hit Cena in the head with a TV monitor leading to a two count on the floor. Back in the ring, Orton hit Cena with a microphone to the head for a two count. The microphone shot cut Cena’s head open. This was when WWE did not want blood on wrestlers. That led to Dr. Sampson checking on Cena, so the clock stopped at 47:04. The fans booed this as the clock counted down again. Cena tossed Orton over the top to the floor. Cena was bleeding a lot more. Orton whipped Cena into the steel steps, so Cena was down on the floor. Orton covered Cena for a two count. Orton and the referee Mike Chioda were both talking to Cena, who was dealing with the cut on his head. Orton stomped on Cena’s head on the steps leading toa two count. Orton worked over Cena with punches. Orton wanted an RKO, Cena pushed him off leading to two shoulder tackles and the spinning slam. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Orton countered it into a RKO! Both guys had their shoulder shoulders down, so the referee counted both guys down.

Cena 2-Orton 2

There were two doctors that went into the ring to try to clean Cena’s cut. It was longer than 30 seconds, but Cena looked like he was cleaned up and the blood was stopped. Lawler said that it looked like the doctors glued Cena’s head shut. Cena had control of Orton on the turnbuckle and Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment off the middle rope so it was a Super AA for the pinfall.

Cena 3-Orton 2

Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes of the Legacy group went to the ring and they beat on Cena with punches and kicks. Dibiase hit his Dream Street slam finishing move and they put Orton on Cena for a pinfall with under 39 minutes left, so they did six falls in 21 minutes.

Cena 3-Orton 3

Kofi Kingston ran out to the ring with a steel chair, so he chased Dibiase and Rhodes to the back. Cena and Orton got back with a double clothesline. They left the ring to get into a brawl in the aisle. Orton sent Cena into a railing. Orton took Cena over to the tech area. Orton sent Cena into one of the pyrotechnic boxes and then some pyro went off on the stage. Orton was freaked out by it a bit and then he focused on Cena. Orton tossed Cena into a lighting grid that was part of the set. Orton turned Cena over and pinned him on the floor by some cables near the lighting grid.

Cena 3-Orton 4

Orton went over to the tech area where a guy told him not to touch anything. Orton pushed a button and some pyro went off on the stage. Orton pushed another button, so more pyro went off on the stage. The tech guy told Orton not to do that. Orton hit Cena in the back with a steel chair. Orton placed Cena across the ramp, the crowd was screaming because they could tell what was coming, Orton went back over to the tech area and told the tech guy: “You don’t tell me what to do!” Orton shoved him. Chioda told Orton not to do it. Orton pushed a bunch of the buttons and some of the pyro went off, but we never saw if it hit Cena. Orton checked Cena for marks on his body, but Cena had no visible scars and Orton was mad about it. Orton worked over Cena with punches. They went back down to ringside with Orton hitting Cena with uppercuts. Orton whipped Cena shoulder first into the steel steps. The clock was at the 30-minute mark, so they were halfway through the match. Orton threw the steel steps at Cena’s head. Cena got his hands up to block. Orton used a steel chair to hit Cena’s right arm while it was up against the ring post. It was mostly Orton hitting the ring post. They were back in the ring, Orton went for a lift, Cena got an inside cradle and it was enough for a shocking pinfall.

Cena 4-Orton 4

Orton was furious about it as he attacked Cena with punches, but Chioda pulled Orton off and made him back away because it was supposed to be 30 seconds between falls. Orton was swearing at ringside yelling “f**k” a few times, I think. Cena was still selling like he was out of it, Orton pulled him off the apron and Orton hit a draping DDT on the apron to the floor. Orton covered Cena for the pinfall.

Cena 4-Orton 5

After the 30 second break, Orton covered Cena again and got a two count. Back in the ring, Orton stomped on Cena’s limbs repeatedly followed by forearms to the chest. Orton with a knee drop for two. Orton with a punch, then he sold the punch after and Cena went down with Orton getting a two count. Cena with another punch for a two count. Orton charged at Cena with a punch, Cena ducked out of the way, Cena with a punch and Orton bailed up the ramp. There were 20 minutes left as Orton stood on the ramp, so Cena walked up toe ramp to go for Orton. There were punches and kicks from Orton. Cena with a couple of punches, so Orton went down the ramp and back into the ring. Cena took his time to go back into the ring where Orton stomped on Cena’s back again. Orton wanted a draping DDT, Cena slipped out, he wanted the AA again, but Orton left through the crowd. Orton went up the steps with Cena going after him. Cena hit Orton with a garbage can. Cena with punches leading to Orton going down the steps towards the ring. They were back to the lower level in front of the hockey boards. Cena worked over Orton with punches and the match had about 15 minutes left. Cena covered Orton on the floor by the ring for a two count. Cena sent Orton into the steel steps for a two count. Cena whipped Orton’s left shoulder into the barricade. Cena sent Orton into the barricade again. Cena whipped Orton hard into the barricade by the ring announcer/timekeeper and Orton went crashing through the barricade. Cena brought the bottom half of the steel steps toward the commentary table. Cena cleared the monitors off the commentary table. Cena ran the steel steps into Orton’s face. Cena put both parts of the steel steps by the commentary table. There were about 10 minutes left. Cena lifted Orton onto his shoulders, walked up the steps and delivered an Attitude Adjustment slam through the commentary table! The fans popped huge for that while Cena let out a yell as well. Cena covered Orton on the floor for the pinfall with about 9:10 left.

Cena 5-Orton 5

After the 30 second interval, Cena went after Orton right away with a pin attempt on the floor, but Orton kicked out at two. Cena grabbed a table from under the ring and brought it into the ring. Cena set up the table in the ring. Cena went out to Orton on the floor, then he lifted Orton up and carried Orton into the ring. Cena put Orton across the table in the ring, Cena went up top for a leg drop, Orton rolled out of the way and Cena went crashing through the table. Ouch. There were about five minutes left. The fans were getting into it a lot more in the final minutes. Both guys were selling fatigue, they exchanged punches while on their knees, Orton with an uppercut, Cena a body punch, more punches to the head by both guys. Cena got some momentum with repeated punches. Cena with a shoulder tackle, he went for another, Orton moved and Cena hit referee Mike Chioda to knock him down. Cena turned around and Orton hit an RKO. No referee to count, so then referee Charles Robinson was there and Cena kicked out. Orton shoved referee Robinson on his ass. There were two minutes left. Orton wasted about a minute thinking of what to do. Orton charged with The Punt, Cena moved and Cena applied the STF submission. Referee Chioda was back in action, so he checked on Orton as Cena was basically choking him with the forearm. Orton tried to fight it, Cena kept on pulling and the fans were chanting, so Orton tapped out. Orton tapped out with above five seconds left. John Cena got the win after 60:00.

Cena 6-Orton 5

Winner by 6 falls to 5 AND NEW WWE Champion: John Cena

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good match that was also really long. It’s a tough match to do because you have to try to keep the crowd invested even though the fans know it’s going to go 60 minutes. They did book it in a smart way with Orton controlling for most of the match, Orton had a 5-4 lead with about 25 minutes left and Cena managed to get two more falls to find a way to win. There were times where the action got so slow that I think it hurt the match, but again when you have 60 minutes, it’s going to be like that sometimes. There were seven falls in the first half of the match and then four more in the second half. I think there were times in the match where they were going too slow to the point that the crowd was having a tough time getting into it. When Cena made his big comeback in the last 15 minutes, the fans really did get into it, so that was a good sign. That’s why these matches are often booked with the heel in control for most of it until the face makes the big comeback and either finds a way to win or comes close. It’s the right way to book an Ironman match.

John Cena sat back up with the WWE Title for his seventh title win. The announcers tried to put this over as a classic match. I wouldn’t call it that, but it was pretty good. An exhausted Cena had his hand raised as the WWE Champion once again.

They showed replays of the key spots in the match.

Cena continued to celebrate the WWE Title being in his possession. More replays were shown. They showed Orton tapping out with just five seconds left.

Cena held the WWE Title again while Orton was angry in the ring and Cole talked about how this is how the rivalry ends. That was it.

This event had a runtime of 2:49:18 on WWE Network.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 6.75

It was a good show overall, but nothing that special. I rated the last three matches over three stars, so it’s not like it was that bad. For me to rate a show higher, I need one or two matches at that four-star level or above. There just wasn’t anything that really stood out.

The Cena/Orton match was very good for the most part although I don’t think it should be remembered with the best Ironman matches in WWE history like Lesnar/Angle in 2003, Rock/Triple H in 2000 or Michaels/Hart in 1996. I did like some aspects of it and the finish was booked well, but it was slow and boring at times too. Cena winning the WWE Title was the obvious result to put an end to their rivalry…at least at this point.

I thought Batista’s heel turn on Rey Mysterio was really well done because Batista spent so many years as a babyface. It worked because it was a big guy bullying a smaller guy and it was easy to feel sympathy towards Rey. There wasn’t anything else on the show that was that memorable in terms of storyline.

 

FIVE STARS

1. John Cena

2. Randy Orton

3. The Undertaker

4. Chris Jericho

5. Batista/Rey Mysterio

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: John Cena vs. Randy Orton (****1/2 out of 5) – I rated the 14-man tag team match the same, but I’d put Cena vs. Orton ahead.

Worst Match: Michelle McCool, Natalya & Beth Phoenix vs. Melina, Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly (**)

Most Memorable Moment: Randy Orton tapping out with five seconds left to give Cena the WWE Title victory in the Ironman Match main event.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

 

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