Monday Night Raw hothted by da 'Merican Dweam, Tony Sibonnie!
Things start off right with that awesome old-school theme, it's Dusty Rhodes! In a true case of nepotism, our guest host for the evening sets up a WWE Title match between champion Randy Orton and... Cody Rhodes! Damn, I was hoping Goldust would get a shot. Randy Orton makes his required opening segment appearance to threaten the host, but at least he has an established history with Dusty based on their brief feud in 2007. Also, it's not just the WWE Championship, all Raw titles are on the line tonight! A good start for the show, even with a Randy Orton appearance, I can't complain.
I can however, complain about the Divas Battle Royal. That was pretty terrible, but luckily Beth Phoenix got the win and will face Mickie James for the Divas Championship later in the evening. Those two have great chemistry and it certainly can't be any worse than this match or the debacle with Gail Kim a few weeks back.
They're showing Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania on ECW tomorrow night? Huh? Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic match and I can't wait to watch it again, but what does it have to do with ECW? If you wanted to screw with regularly scheduled programming, why not show it on Superstars? This is especially weird since they showed another ad later in the night featuring Christian and Regal, so I guess we're just going to have to tune in tomorrow to find out what the deal is.
MVP vs. Chris Jericho was top notch, a great match from beginning to end and exactly what MVP needed to get the crowd excited about him once again. Hopefully WWE realizes that if a guy has fallen by the wayside and lost some momentum, all you have to do to rectify the situation is stick him in the ring with Chris Jericho. I'm having a hard time finding an argument against Jericho making it two in a row for the Superstar of the Year Slammy. Look at his 2009: he resurrected the career of Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, he put on half a dozen Match of the Year candidates with Rey Mysterio, he helped restore prestige to the Intercontinental Title and now he's saving tag team wrestling in WWE, all while making guys like Cryme Tyme, MVP and Mark Henry look like a million bucks. Hell, forget about Superstar of the Year, I think we're looking at Superstar of the Decade.
Hornswoggle vs. Chavo Guerrero was the same thing we've been seeing for months now, they should've just quit while they were ahead with Macaulay Culkin. They really need to transition this into a feud between Chavo and Evan Bourne, which seems to be the direction they're taking, but this stuff with Hornswoggle has gotten old.
To borrow a phrase from JR, Mark Henry vs. Big Show was bowling shoe ugly, but I actually enjoyed it. Definitely had some serious lull periods with Mark Henry's headlock, which seemed to last for twelve minutes, but overall, the match did what it needed to do. The challengers look like legitimate threats to the champs, and Mark Henry looks like someone who can actually go head to head with Big Show and survive. Usually I'm not a fan of DQ finishes, but this was clever and got across the idea that Show felt threatened against the World's Strongest Man.
I can't heap enough praise onto the Fatal Four Way for the United States Championship. Well, really I can't heap enough praise onto Kofi Kingston, who is nothing short of astonishing in these kind of matches. I had to replay that dive over the top rope at least five times because it was such a thing of beauty; if this wrestling thing doesn't work out, perhaps he can go into the Olympics as a high jumper? You might think I was pulling for The Miz in this one, but I'm thrilled Kofi pulled out the win since it just furthers his gimmick of being unstoppable in multi-man matches. Fatal Four Ways, Triple Threats, Six-Pack Challenges? Kofi makes it look easy! Now if they really wanted to get smart with this, they'd use it to hype up Kingston as a favorite to win the Royal Rumble. Not saying he should win it, but it would be a nice side story to set him apart from the pack. Seriously though, with performances like this, Kofi should be in line for a shot at the WWE Title.
Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix was actually uncomfortable to watch. Wow, one of the most brutal Divas matches I've seen in quite some time on WWE television and also one of the best. I really thought The Glamazon was going to win this one after just dominating the champion, but Mickie somehow pulled out a win with a beautiful DDT. Good stuff.
I enjoyed the backstage comedy with DX & Dusty Rhodes. The DVD shilling, Shawn Michaels flipping out over being on top of WWE while WCW was dominating them in the ratings and then The Shockmaster bit were all absolutely hysterical. The Arn Anderson cameo just sent it completely over the top; I'm sure a lot of people watching didn't get the whole bit, but it was good fan service for old folks like me.
Saw it coming a mile away with Dusty Rhodes & Legacy setting up John Cena in the main event, but it really didn't make sense to me. Dusty said "there's nothing a father wouldn't do for his son," really? How does ambushing Cena help Cody Rhodes? I see how it helps Orton, but if I were Cody, I'd want the frigging title match! But just when it looks like it's another case of Legacy being nothing more than Orton's lackey boys, the WWE Champ hits the RKO on Dusty! Cody's conflicted between his father and his mentor and all the sudden the crowd goes BONKERS for the guy. I hate to say it because Cody Rhodes does absolutely nothing for me, but WWE should take note of that, the crowd actually cared about the guy and they were begging for him to kick Orton's ass -- even I was begging for him to kick Orton's ass! As far as I'm concerned, the sooner they end Legacy, the better, so I'm all for this implosion.
A couple minor issues here and there, but nothing that kept this from being a great episode of Monday Night Raw. Good storyline progression, great matches, fun comedy from DX, and an intriguing ending make this one of the best shows in months, if not all of 2009. Definitely interested in next week considering the guest host is BOB BARKER, but I think we'll have to wait and see how that plays out. Personally, I'm hoping for a Price is Right-themed show, where whoever bids closest to the actual retail price on some dining room furniture gets a title shot later in the night.