TEN YEARS AFTER: WWE RAW (12.31.07)

WWE: RAW
December 31, 2007
Greensboro, NC
Greensboro Coliseum
(taped on 12/29/07)

The current RAW champions are as follows:
WWE Champion: Randy Orton (10/7/2007)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Hardy (9/3/2007)
World Tag Team Champions: Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes (12/10/2007)
WWE Women’s Champion: Beth Phoenix (10/7/2007)

Read along if you have the WWE Network!

To start the show, they give the WWE champ Randy Orton quite a promo video showcasing him as the undisputed top superstar on RAW in 2007. You can’t really argue with that.

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.

In the arena, Orton is standing in the ring. The lights go out except for a spotlight shining down on him. Orton talks about how he ran through everyone in 2007 and guarantees 2008 will be more of the same. Jeff Hardy interrupts to a HUGE ovation from the Greensboro crowd. You can almost always count on the southern crowds to boo the heels and cheer the babyfaces. There’s always exceptions like when Hulk Hogan wrestled in Charlotte against Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in WCW, but that’s certainly a specific exception to the rule. Anyways, Jeff calls out Orton for having a lack of momentum and uses a win over the WWE champ two weeks ago in a tag match to prove his point. Orton comes back with wins over Chris Jericho (DQ loss?), Shawn Michaels (1 win, 1 loss), and putting John Cena on the shelf. They end up going nose to nose. Orton tries to sneak an RKO, but Jeff counters to a Twist of Fate and leaves him laying. Good segment to make Jeff Hardy look like he has the WWE champ’s number.

They air a video package concerning Ric Flair and his current predicament where Vince McMahon will keep him around – as long he keeps on winning matches. They then advertise Ric Flair will meet TRIPLE H tonight. WOO!

After the break, Jeff Hardy runs into his brother Matt backstage for some good times. Matt pats Jeff on the back for being on the roll of his life. Jeff wants to know when Matt figures he’ll be back in the ring – and Matt’s counting on returning at the Royal Rumble. He then asks Jeff if he could get the first title shot after he beats Orton. Jeff says it would be an honor to give his older brother the first shot as they walk off to talk it over.

  • Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Kennedy

Kennedy has vowed to defeat Shawn Michaels in 2007. Now is your chance, pal. While wristlocks and armbars are the standard feeling out moves, they’re playing a little bit off the psychology used in the Armageddon match where Shawn really worked over Kennedy’s hand, which actually ended up helping Shawn beat Kennedy. JR says Kennedy’s hand is fine now, but this match will certainly test it. Anyways, Shawn changes his game plan and works over the knee. He even pulls down the knee pad and locks in a nasty half crab. Kennedy makes the ropes and spears Michaels out to the floor. That nearly gets Kennedy the countout victory, which plays into the idea that he wants to beat Michaels by the end of the year and this being his last opportunity. Michaels slides back in at nine as we take a commercial break. When we come back, Kennedy is stomping a mudhole and face washing it dry. That gets two. Shawn looks for the Crossface, but Kennedy elbows him away to keep Michaels off his hand. He puts Shawn in the tree of woe and lifts him up for a back superplex, but he gets elbowed down. Staying adamant, Kennedy drills him with a superplex after all. Cover, 1-2-NO! Kennedy applies an abdominal stretch on the mat. Shawn fights back with the Flying Forearm and inverted atomic drops. Shawn is really selling the back here. He wants the Flying Elbow, but Kennedy moves and Oklahoma rolls Michaels for 1-2-NO! Nice VINTAGE nearfall sequence leads to the bridge and backslide from Michaels for 1-2-NO! WOO! Kennedy looks for the MIC CHECK. Shawn blocks it once, but not on the second try as he covers Shawn for the 1-2-3! (11:00 shown) Mission accomplished. Definitely the biggest pinfall of Kennedy’s career. Decent enough match here, but what happened to the knee work after the break? Shawn just can’t get these guys to sell! ***

Todd Grisham meets with Triple H backstage to talk about the possibility of ending Ric Flair’s career tonight. Triple H says he’s in quite a dilemma here because losing is not an option for him. At least when Ric loses tonight, he’ll have lost to the best. Vince McMahon and William Regal interrupt to tell Triple H if he loses tonight, he won’t be in the Royal Rumble match. Vince wishes him a happy new year and walks out leaving Triple H to ponder.

Big Dick Johnson, Ron Simmons, and Jillian wish us a happy new year. This goes just as you might expect.

Over in William Regal’s office, Vince McMahon gets interrupted by a phone call. His ring tone is NO CHANCE IN HELL. Hilarious. Back to his convo with Regal, Vince wants Regal to prove himself against his son Hornswoggle. McMahon assures Regal that Finlay is in Northern Ireland and then makes sure Regal understands that he needs to show Hornswoggle some tough love.

Hilarious Royal Rumble ad. I’m glad Michael Buffer has a sense of humor about himself.

They take us back to the first Royal Rumble match in 1988 where Hacksaw Jim Duggan won by eliminating the One Man Gang.

  • Royal Rumble Qualifier: Umaga vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

This shouldn’t take long. Duggan tries to punch it out with Umaga and that winds up being a mistake. He pounds Duggan down in the corner and gives him the Buttalanche. The SAMOAN SPIKE ends this one in 1:19.

In the locker room, Vince McMahon interrupts an encouraging conversation going on with Ric Flair (wearing a DX t-shirt), Hardcore Holly, and Cody Rhodes. After he dismisses Holly and Rhodes, McMahon wants to know if Ric is ready to walk that aisle one last time. It’s all over for you, Ric.

Jim Ross takes us back to two weeks ago at Armageddon when JBL costs Chris Jericho the WWE title. JBL arrives at RAW – NEXT!

Here is the RAW debut of John Bradshaw Layfield. You can call it literally a RAW debut for the character since he’s been tied to Smackdown since the beginning of the character back in 2004. Red and black balloons and streamers drop from the ceiling as his limo arrives. The crowd gives him a not-so-warm reception as he walks to the ring with a very stern look on his face. Whoa, lots of fireworks as he puts his fists in the air. His expression never changes. This continues for several more minutes. More pyro, even more celebration, and lots more booing from the crowd. It gets to a point where it feels like half-joke, half-serious. JBL finally gets on the mic and reminds everyone that he doesn’t have to be here because he’s a millionaire many times over – he’s only here because he likes owning people, dominating people, and squashing people under his thumb simply because he can. Chris Jericho interrupts and we’ve got a brawl at ringside until the zebra shirts and agents come down to separate them. JBL even gets his nose busted open. NICE.

After the break, JBL is backstage screaming at the road agents for disrespecting him. If they don’t respect him, he will buy and sell them – and there ain’t a damn thing they can do about it.

  • WWE Women’s Championship: Beth Phoenix (c) vs. Melina vs. Mickie James

Melina plays the evil genius among these three. While Beth and Mickie are trying to have a match, she’ll do something sneaky to try and win. Mickie and Melina do a double enziguri spot on Beth. Over in the corner, there’s TWO headscissors holds happening. Beth gets tossed to the floor allowing Mickie to land her JUMPING DDT, but Phoenix stops the pin. Now Beth gets rid of Mickie and delivers the Fisherman’s Buster to Melina for the win. (4:18) Mickie leaps back in the ring and she’s about two feet short from making the save. This started off rough with some serious botches, but picked up in the last minute or so with a convincing nearfall. *

  • Hornswoggle vs. William Regal (w/Vince McMahon)

Regal doesn’t even bother to get into his wrestling trunks here. Horny and Vince share a hug. Vince wants Regal and Hornswoggle to shake hands – and they do. We get some collar and elbow tie-ups. Naturally, Regal gets the better of those while Vince tries to encourage Horny. Regal gets Hornswoggle on the mat and pulls back his left hand to punch him, but can’t bring himself to do it. Disappointed, McMahon pulls Regal aside for a chat when Horny runs over and kicks Regal in the butt a few times. This gets Regal pissed off, but he still can’t punch Horny. Vince pulls a pair of brass knucks from Regal’s jacket pocket (BECAUSE HE HAS THE POWER OF THE PUNCH) and tells Regal he better use them. Nevertheless, Regal STILL won’t punch the little fella and lets Horny escape to the locker room. Vince then gets in the ring and slaps Regal across the face. Turns out, Vince was testing Regal and says he failed the test. He then poses the question to the RAW GM William Regal that he no longer has any guts and tells him to leave. N/R

  • Jeff Hardy vs. Santino Marella (w/Maria & Carlito)

After missing a few weeks of RAW, I have no idea why Carlito is hanging out with these two. Too much offense on Hardy from a joke like Santino though. The Hardy comeback does come rather quickly. When he goes up for the Swanton Bomb, Randy Orton interrupts on the TitanTron in the middle of beating the crap out of Matt Hardy where his appendix used to be. He then punts Matt in the head and rushes out as Jeff Hardy runs to check on his brother. (about 2:00) By the time Jeff gets to the back, Orton is long gone and Matt does not look good. This was very well-done. N/R

We go back to the locker room to see Triple H shaking Ric Flair’s hand. Triple H is so confident that Ric’s career is over, it motivates Flair a little. WOO! Flair says Triple H will always be his friend – no matter what. Tonight, Ric Flair has to be RIC FLAIR. Triple H may be the best in the business today, but Triple H ain’t THE MAN yet until he puts Flair away. Flair tells him to JUST – BRING – THE – GAME! Triple H gets the last word telling Ric to bring the man and he’ll beat the man. Awesome.

  • Triple H vs. Ric Flair

Flair gets a hero’s welcome in his final match at the legendary Greensboro Coliseum. Hammerlocks and headlocks exchanged to start. Flair gets pushed off into the ropes and puts on the brakes to do his strut. WOO! Triple H does an awesome job playing to Flair’s strengths and selling the chops well. HHH runs down Flair with shoulderblocks and the crowd boos him for a SHOULDERBLOCK. Flair comes back with a hiptoss and a chop. Helmsley fires back on Flair with a punch straight to his banana nose and the crowd boos him for that as well. Flair is not holding back on these chops and Triple H’s red chest proves it. HHH catches Flair with a back elbow and drops a couple knees on the head. Flair keeps fighting back, but this time HHH shuts him down with a Facebuster for two. Neckbreaker gets two as well. Flair chops back and Triple H delivers the AA Spinebuster. Time for the Pedigree, but Flair reverses to a backslide for 1-2-NO! Triple H finds a sleeperhold and puts Flair on his knees, but the crowd cheers Flair on and he counters to a back suplex. Flair unloads with punches and chops to staggers Helmsley for a DOUBLE ARM SUPLEX (!!). Holy crap, this is so much fun. Flair heads up top and punches Helmsley in the nose so he can come off the top with a forearm smash for two. WOO! There’s the Fargo strut. There’s the Rolling Knee Drop. As Helmsley staggers up, Flair clips his knee a few times. HHH kicks away the Figure-Four into the corner and the crowd boos. Helmsley tries to grab another sleeperhold, but Flair counters to the shinbreaker and LOCKS IN THE FIGURE-FOUR! The crowd is going absolutely nuts. This is so great. Helmsley is selling it like Flair is amputating his legs. He gets near the ropes and Flair pulls him back. Finally, Helmsley reaches the ropes. As Triple H gets up, Flair charges right into the PEDIGREE. Fortunately for Flair, Helmsley does further damage to the knee on impact. As he tries to crawl on top of Flair, William Regal comes down and pulls Flair over to the ropes to punch him in the face with the brass knucks for the DQ. (13:09) So Flair wins by DQ and Triple H may (or may not) be in the Royal Rumble match now. He pitches a fit to the ref but there was nothing he could do about it. This was great pro wrestling action and I thought it would have been great to see Flair beat Helmsley in his last match at the Greensboro Coliseum. I’m actually surprised Hunter didn’t demand to put him over. Hunter helps Flair to his feet afterwards and they hug in the middle of the ring as G-boro gives him a standing ovation. ***

That’ll do it for today. Until next time, so long for now!

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Posted on July 10, 2018, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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