TV REVIEW: WWE RAW - September 28th, 2009

WWE RAW: 28/09/09
Albany New York

With the Hell in a Cell pay per view just days away, WWE Champion John Cena has a tough challenge on his hands as he's forced to take on his upcoming opponent Randy Orton, as well as Chris Jericho and Big Show in a gauntlet match. The Unified Tag Team Champions have enough on their hands as they're forced to compete against MVP and Mark Henry by this week's guest host, some guy called Al.

The V.I.P Lounge

Dressed in matching ring attire, MVP and his partner, Mark Henry host The V.I.P Lounge. Following a brief introduction from MVP, Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho and The Big Show crash the party. In a truly bizarre segment, Porter and Jericho take turns in heaping praise on tonight's guest host, The Reverend Al Sharpton, topping each other with each compliment before Sharpton makes his way to the ring to a loud chorus of boos (apparently he isn't well liked in the US. Personally, your writer has never heard of him and couldn't care less).

To end an awkward segment in which everybody misses their cue and talks over the top of each other, Sharpton books a tag team title match between the two teams.

WWE Unified Tag Team Championship Match: Chris Jericho and The Big Show defend against MVP and Mark Henry

In a rematch from their recent encounter at Breaking Point, MVP and Mark Henry look to dethrone the dominating champions in arguably the best opening match Raw has seen all year.

Though it's slow to start with, this tight, action-packed contest gradually escalates into a thrilling tag team match, with the challengers coming closer than ever to capturing the gold. Unfortunately, it isn't to be and as the show reaches the half-hour mark, Big Show and Jericho steal a win from the jaws of defeat.
Your Winners and Still WWE Unified Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho and The Big Show

In the back, Primo Colon sucks up to Al Sharpton. This being Raw, where no segment is allowed to go uninterrupted, Hornswoggle soon shows up with Chavo Guerrero giving chase. Before long, Santino Marella -who's obligatory comedy routine sadly falls short tonight - and Chris Masters arrive on the scene. Wouldn't you know it, we have ourselves another tag team match.

An Interview with Orton

Watching a Randy Orton interview is like being in double-science at high school; you know something important is probably being said, but it's so dull it's difficult to pay attention. The Legend Killer almost sends your reporter to sleep with a boring, monotonous promo in which he claims he won't be responsible for his actions come Hell in a Cell.

Non-Title Match: Divas Champion Mickie James vs. Rosa Mendes (with Alicia Fox) 

In what resembles a bad training match between two rookies gone awry, Mickie James and Rosa Mendes struggle to find any sort of chemistry. The result is an awkward performance in which every other spot seems to go wrong.

Thankfully, the Divas Champion finally puts Rosa, and us fans, out of our collective misery with a kick to the head.
Your Winner: Mickie James

Returning from commercial, we get a good look at the Hell in a Cell structure, which hangs ominously above the ring.

Nobody expects us to win.

Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes make their way to the ring to promote their upcoming cell match with D-Generation-X this Sunday. Rather than talking about how good they are, or how they're going to annihilate their opponents, Dibiase seems to believe that the best way to make his team look strong is by claiming that nobody expects them to win.

Before long, the Legacy boys are interrupted by a playful DX, and a war of words ensues and results in Rhodes and Dibiase high tailing it through the crowd.

Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne

With the United States championship wrapped around his waist, Jack Swagger makes his way to the ring as Michael Cole explains that Swagger isn't actually the champion; he stole the belt from Kofi Kingston.

With that little bit of confusion out of the way (and it was confusing for this reporter, who missed the last two weeks of the show), Swagger enters into an enjoyable performance with the always entertaining Evan Bourne.

Despite all his high-flying, show-stealing offence, the diminutive Bourne is no match for his larger, stronger opponent, and eventually succumbs to Swagger.
Your Winner: Jack Swagger

In the post-match, The All American American gets on the microphone, only to be interrupted by The Miz, who claims that he will capture the US title on Sunday because he's The Miz and, yes, he is awesome.

The two brawl and, seizing the opportunity, Kofi Kingston strolls to ringside to take his title belt back. It's a fun segment, but it does strike this reporter as odd that, in promoting a three-way match for the title, the champion himself receives hardly any attention.

Hornswoggle & Santino Marella  vs. Chavo Guerrero and 'The Masterpiece' Chris Masters

Making up for his earlier comic failings, Santino Marella is hilarious in this short bout, doing the bulk of the work for his team and outshining both his opponents and partner. That is until Masters locks in The Masterlock, and this one comes to an end.
Your Winners: Chavo Guerrero and Chris Masters

Yet it's in the post-match where things really get interesting; Big Chris puts the Masterlock on Hornswoggle, only for Guerrero to shock everybody by coming to the aid of his arch-rival.

Next Week's Host:

Is Ben Roethlisberger. For those wondering, he's an American Football player. Exciting, huh?

The Reverend Busts a Move

In the back, Reverend Al Sharpton starts to bid farewell to the Raw audience when, wouldn't you know it, somebody interrupts him. This time, it's Jillian Hall, who serenades the Guest Host with a cringe-worthy rendition of Living in America. Sharpton sends her packing, only for The Bella Twins to show up. The Reverend busts a move and sings a few lines from I Feel Good as the gorgeous Bella Twins dance in the background.

Non-Title Gauntlet Match: WWE Champion John Cena vs. Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Randy Orton

There are a lot of people who don't like John 'Super' Cena, and this match is a perfect example of why.

First up, the WWE Champion is forced to take on Chris Jericho. Despite fairing pretty well in the early going, the champ is quickly overthrown by Jericho, who locks in the Walls of Jericho only for Cena to grab the ropes. Refusing to break the hold, Jericho ultimately winds up disqualified, yet continues to hurt Cena with the Walls' until his tag team partner arrives on the scene for match number two.
Match 1 Winner: John Cena via disqualification

The Big Show picks up were his partner left off, destroying Cena and applying a Colossal Clutch. Jericho gets involved again, and Big Show is also disqualified, but the Unified Tag Team Champions appear to have done their job well; Cena is out of it. Beaten to a pulp and unable to stand, the champion is easy pickings for opponent number three, Randy Orton.
Match 2 Winner: John Cena via disqualification

Yet by the time Orton approaches the ring (and to be fair, he does give The Undertaker a run for his money in the 'longest entrance' stakes) the champion has made a full recovery. It's either a miracle, or bad booking. What's even more amazing is that Cena now possesses Undertaker-like magic powers and is able to summon the cell down from the rafters. Orton legs it out of the open door and climbs atop the cell with Cena in hot pursuit. The two trade blows, Cena hits the Attitude Adjuster, and we're done.
Match 3 Winner: No Contest

Final Thoughts:
Less of a match and more of an elaborate angle, the finale of tonight's show was still nonetheless pretty ridiculous. Cena making a comeback I can live with; he's the champion and therefore is supposed to be stronger, tougher and generally better than all of his opponents. However, a comeback is one thing, making a full recovery without showing any effects whatsoever of the horrific beating he received  only a minute earlier is an insult to the intelligence. As I've mentioned before in these 'final thoughts' pieces, wrestling is supposed to make you suspend your disbelief, and this segment completely failed to do that.

It wasn't just Cena's miracle recovery that ensured nobody could believe what was happening, Orton's performance was equally confusing. Why was he so scared of the cell being lowered when he knows full well he'll have to compete in one on Sunday? Why did he take several millennia to reach the ring, when it would have been so easy to walk at normal pace and quickly beat his prone opponent, and why on earth did he go to all the effort of legging it on top of the cage when he could have run up the isle and out of harms way? He is supposed to be the heel after all.

Yet whilst the show ended on a down note, at least it opened on a high one with that tremendous tag team match between Jerishow and the team of MVP and Mark Henry. All four men worked hard to deliver a solid, enjoyable performance and I, for one, would love to see more.

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