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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 19

January 25th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: November 23, 2009
Company: WWE
Show: Monday Night Raw
Rules: Normal
Stipulation: #1 contender for WWE Championship at TLC
Roster (8): Ted Dibiase, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, Montel Vontavious Porter, R-Truth, Cody Rhodes and Sheamus

2009 to 2010 was a dark time for Monday Night Raw thanks to the guest host gimmick. Every week, there’d be a different guest host, originally in the form of a GM with power over the roster. Sometimes it would be a wrestler who wasn’t active at the time like the injured Batista or long-retired Dusty Rhodes. Sometimes it would be a B or C-list celebrity. Any given week, you’d be in store for a crapshoot that usually depended on how into it the guest was. Sometimes you’d get Bob Barker spinning straw into gold with the Price is Raw. Then you’d get Dennis Miller hosting the Slammys, which was just head-shakingly bad. I recall him making a “joke” that was just him going, “Hey, global warming isn’t real, am I right?” And when people didn’t react, that led to some insisting that the wrestling audience wasn’t smart enough to get that comedic genius. Ugh.

One guest host was former Governor and current nutjob Jesse Ventura. He started up a little controversy about John Cena as WWE Champion, pointing out how sick a lot of guys backstage were of him. Ventura decided on a series of qualifying matches between those who haven’t been champion before, meaning we’d get a much needed break from the never-ending Cena/Orton series of matches. The winners would advance to what he called the Breakthrough Battle Royal.

Throughout the night we had Kofi Kingston defeat Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus defeat Finlay, the team of R-Truth, Mark Henry and MVP defeating the team of Jack Swagger, Chavo Guerrero and Chris Masters, Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase defeat Cryme Tyme and a match between Primo and Evan Bourne took a strange turn. Orton was so angry about not being allowed into this match that he attacked Primo and took his place, having little trouble in beating Bourne. Since Ventura loves cheating, he let it slide. Meanwhile, smarks had someone to outright root against for this match because if WWE was stupid enough to let Orton win… Jesus Christ.

A backstage segment had Ventura rant at Vince McMahon in a way that almost seems off-script due to bringing up Vince Sr., something that’s usually a big no-no. Ventura wanted to make a little trip to the past and insisted that the commentary for the Breakthrough Battle Royal be done by he and Vince. Whoa. Now that’s something.

Now for the match. Ventura comes out to nearly zero reaction and Vince not only has his old 80′s theme song “You’re My Obsession” by Human League playing, but he has this swank bowtie picked out by Ventura.

The commentary is very weird. Familiar, but different. It is a trip to hear Vince talk at length in that tone that sounds like he’s thinking to himself aloud, plus Ventura telling him, “Shut up, McMahon!” It’s just that age and development has changed them. Ventura is an asshole face and Vince is a doofy heel when the face/heel alignment should be switched. Plus Vince is just plain grumpy at times, calling this a rotten idea.

There’s some interesting faction stuff going on in the lineup. This is the night after Survivor Series, which included a team that had Kofi, Henry, R-Truth and MVP against a team with Orton, Rhodes and Dibiase. So Sheamus is the odd man out here. At first, it’s the four guys from Team Kofi ganging up on Legacy while Sheamus hangs back and does nothing. Eventually, Orton slinks out of the ring and walks around, surveying the action. Henry and R-Truth start fighting each other to make things fair.

Nothing happens for quite a while, but at least the commentary is entertaining and there’s some nice tension with Sheamus and Orton each staying to themselves. Eventually, Sheamus snaps out of it, grabs R-Truth, clotheslines him down and then flings him easily out of the ring. Shortly later, Sheamus waits for the perfect opportunity to catch MVP off-guard.

Easy pickings, bringing us down to six.

Henry goes for Sheamus and almost has him out of the ring until Rhodes and Dibiase attack. Henry ducks a double clothesline from them and sends them both out over the top with a pair of clotheslines of his own. Sheamus clobbers him from behind and throws him out, giving us Sheamus vs. Orton vs. Kofi. By this point, Orton’s finally returned to the ring.

Sheamus hangs back for the most part, but when he does get involved, Orton makes short work of him. Orton sends Kofi over the top rope, but Kofi hangs on and takes out Orton via skinning the cat.

When Kofi gets back up, Sheamus is ready for him with a running axe-handle, sending Kofi to the outside. Sheamus wins and gets his title shot against John Cena at TLC. Not only are we saved from another Cena/Orton fiasco, but we also got that sweet Orton facial reaction above.

In the following segment, Sheamus and Cena have a contract signing where Sheamus annihilates Cena and puts him through a table. Ventura announces that their PPV match will be a Tables Match. Sheamus would go on to win that match and have a rather interesting feud with Cena. While Sheamus never got to outright defeat Cena decisively, the same can be said about Cena beating Sheamus. All in all, Sheamus looked plenty strong around this time until the Nexus showed up to make him run away in fear, thereby hurting his monster persona.

Kofi and Orton continued their feud. Kofi was looking like he was ready to ascend into the main event at times, but then he fucked up a spot, Orton RKO’d him, had an in-ring tantrum and the feud practically died right after. Since then, Kofi’s been stuck in the position/gimmick of “generic good guy who gets cheers”.

I haven’t heard much from Ventura after he was on Opie and Anthony and Jim Norton verbally destroyed him to the point that Ventura stormed out of the interview. Norton rules.

Tomorrow’s the last day and we’re going to be ending it strong.

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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 8

January 14th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: January 11, 1999
Company: WWF
Show: Monday Night Raw
Rules: Royal Rumble
Stipulation: Winner gets the #30 spot in the 1999 Royal Rumble
Roster (10): The Big Boss Man, Chyna, “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, Kane, Vince McMahon, Road Dogg, Ken Shamrock, Test, Triple H, X-Pac

Ah, the late 90′s. The Attitude Era. The Monday Night Wars. A golden age of talent, even though Vince Russo was the guy writing the show. Swerves and over-booking all over the place during his latter days in the WWF. That’s the main reason why I consider the ’99 Royal Rumble to be the “least best” Rumble in that it’s just too busy. But hey, at least it’s better than the mini-Rumble that precedes it.

Vince McMahon has been stuck in his highly-successful feud with Steve Austin, not to mention a side-feud between his Corporation and the stable D-Generation X. McMahon made sure that Austin’s role in the Rumble would be automatically at #1 and penciled himself in at #30 to make sure Austin had no chance in Hell. Commissioner Shawn Michaels finagled with that idea and made it so that McMahon would be #2.

Amidst this big Corporation/DX feud, McMahon decided to put together a Corporate Royal Rumble. A smaller-scaled Rumble featuring only members of both stables where the winner would earn the #30 spot. We know we’re in for some bad times once we see that Shane McMahon is doing commentary.

If you’ve never experienced it, Shane’s commentary is as bad as his punches.

We’re off to a wonderful start when Corporation member Ken Shamrock eliminates himself immediately by jumping over the top rope to get at entrant #2, Billy Gunn. It isn’t a total loss of logic, as Shamrock spends the next minute or so beating the crap out of Mr. Ass, slamming his head into the steps repeatedly until the Big Boss Man is out next. Shamrock leaves and allows Boss Man to continue the beating. At #4, the New Age Outlaws theme plays, but it’s Test who runs out to help out Boss Man. Whoops.

Things finally start to go DX’s way slightly when X-Pac comes out. Then Test eliminates Gunn and we’re back to square one. Road Dogg comes out to even the odds, but then Kane – representing the Corporation – puts it back in their court, eliminating Road Dogg and making it 3-on-1. Triple H runs out next and while he’s overwhelmed, he still tricks Test into clotheslining Kane, who doesn’t budge, but isn’t very happy.

The ring gets cleared until it’s just Triple H vs. Boss Man. On paper, we have all of our announced entries, but then Vince McMahon comes out as #9 and causes Triple H to stop working on Boss Man. Boss Man gets up and the two grapple near the ropes. Vince rushes in and eliminates both at the same time. Boss Man is confused at first, but then celebrates his boss’ victory.

Vince is happy because he’s cheated the system. Now he’s #30! …Or is he?

Chyna comes out last, showing that DX also has some surprises in store. Patterson and Brisco try to prevent her entry, but she takes a swing at both. We don’t get any real Vince vs. Chyna battling as Steve Austin walks out for the sake of getting in Vince’s face. Vince is distracted by this and Chyna takes advantage.

Chyna wins a spot as the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble, doing so at #30. It didn’t really do her much good. In the Rumble itself, she eliminated Mark Henry and then Austin immediately threw her out. The whole thing was a convoluted mess that ended with Vince McMahon winning at #2 and Austin getting the Wrestlemania title shot anyway.

That’s what you get when you play with Russo. Speaking of him, the next update is another one of his babies, only off in WCW. Come check it out.

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