WWE Bragging Rights 2009

Mellon Arena – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Todd Grisham are on commentary. The ropes are half blue and half red, which looks awesome.

MATCH #1: Champion vs. Champion Raw vs. Smackdown Bragging Rights Match – John Morrison vs. The Miz

John Morrison is an unfortunately terrible talker. I also feel a little bad for Marty Jannetty that he kept getting used as a punch line in this feud. They lock up intensely and Morrison scores the first takedown. Miz tries to come back but Morrison is all over him. Morrison continues to badger Miz, so the U.S. Champion takes a quick powder. It doesn’t do any good though as Morrison takes him down again and hits a standing shooting star press for two. Miz comes back and forces Morrison into the corner and then hurls him to the floor. Morrison sneaks back in the ring with a sunset flip for two. Miz goes for the kneelift but Morrison blocks it and clotheslines Miz to the floor. Morrison hits a baseball slide to knock Miz down. Back in the ring Morrison gets a two-count. Morrison goes for a headscissors out of the corner but Miz shoves him to the floor. Back in the ring Miz gets a two-count. Miz hits the clothesline in the corner and then lands a kneelift for two. Morrison fights back with a schoolboy rollup for two, as well as an O’Connor roll for another two. They trade strikes and Morrison wins the battle. Morrison hits a leg lariat for two. Miz comes back with a rollup for two, but Morrison fights right back with a double leg pick up and some punches. Morrison ducks a clothesline and hits the Flying Chuck but Miz gets his foot on the bottom rope. He looks for Starship Pain but Miz rolls to the floor, so Morrison instead follows him out with a corkscrew plancha. Back in the ring Morrison gets two. He sets Miz on the top rope but gets knocked down and Miz hits a double sledge to the head. Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale but Morrison blocks it and hits a side Russian Legsweep. Morrison once again goes for Starship Pain but Miz takes his leg out from under him and gets the pin at 10:54. That was a decent back and forth opener but the finish was exceptionally weak.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Raw Divas vs. Smackdown Divas Bragging Rights Match – Melina, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim vs. Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix & Natalya

McCool is the Women’s Champion and Melina is the Divas Champion. Phoenix and Kim start the match with some hard forearms. Kim gets a quick victory roll for two. Phoenix comes back with a hard shoulderblock and then McCool tags herself in. Kim comes back with a rana and McCool tags Natalya. Kim gets a couple of quick rollups for two-counts. Natalya tries coming back with her power but Kim combats it with her speed and agility. Kelly tags in and Nash Chokes Natalya in the corner. She hits a satellite headscissors, but then gets wheelbarrow slammed on the top rope for two. Natalya rams Kelly back into the corner and the Smackdown divas triple team her and wear her down. After some abuse Kelly makes the hot tag to Melina. The Divas Champion is on fire, going to work on Phoenix and doing that stupid screaming stuff. Melina gets a small package, but McCool shoves her over to reverse it and Phoenix gets two. While Melina and Phoenix battle in the ring the others fight on the floor. Phoenix hits the Glam Slam to get the win for Smackdown at 6:54. For once a Divas match exceeded my expectations. It was short and sweet with a solid structure and good finish.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Fatal Four Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Undertaker vs. CM Punk vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio

Undertaker has been the champion since 10.4.09 and this is his second defense. Punk goes right after Mysterio, and Batista comes to his little buddy’s rescue. Undertaker cuts Batista off with a clothesline. Punk then goes after the Champ, and then gets dumped to the floor. Mysterio follows Punk to the floor with a seated senton off the apron. This is all within the first minute by the way. Mysterio dropkicks Undertaker to the floor, but back in the ring gets his head taken off by an Undertaker big boot. Batista tries his hand with Undertaker but gets trapped in the Old School. The action is coming nonstop from every area of the ring. Mysterio tries a super rana but Undertaker catches him and tries the Last Ride, which Batista breaks up with a spear. Now Mysterio and Batista face off about who should cover the champ. Of course they wait too long and Undertaker sits up. They take him back down and Batista whips Mysterio into the 619. Batista follows with the Spinebuster but Punk breaks it up. Punk hits Mysterio with the Go 2 Sleep and Batista breaks it up.

Undertaker grabs Batista in the Hell’s Gate and Punk breaks that up. Punk hits Undertaker with the running knee in the corner, and Undertaker comes out of the corner with the Last Ride but Batista breaks this one up. Undertaker and Batista trade soup bones, ending with Undertaker hitting a Chokeslam. Once again Punk breaks up the cover. Undertaker tosses Punk to the floor. Batista hits Undertaker with the Batista Bomb but Mysterio breaks this one up and goes for his own cover, much to Batista’s chagrin. They argue and Batista roughly shoves Mysterio to the floor. Undertaker hits Batista with another Chokeslam and this time Batista kicks out. He goes for another one but Batista fights him off and they clothesline each other. Punk comes in and tries covers on both men but can’t get a three. Batista hurls Punk to the floor, and then catches Mysterio out of the air and throws him on top of Punk! Undertaker then hits Batista with the Tombstone Piledriver to get the win at 9:58. That was insanely short but they packed so much action into it that it was ridiculously entertaining.
Rating: ***½

For some reason Josh Mathews gets in the ring to interview Mysterio and Batista. Mysterio says they gave it their best shot but came up short. Batista says he’s tired of his best friend stabbing him in the back. He calmly tells Mysterio that he’s not playing, and that he’s going to rip his head off. He then proceeds to destroy Mysterio in the best executed heel turn in recent memory.

MATCH #4: 7-on-7 Raw vs. Smackdown Bragging Rights Match – D-Generation X, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger & Cody Rhodes vs. Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth & the Hart Dynasty

Jericho and Show are the Tag Team Champions but work on different shows so they are opposing each other here. Truth and Rhodes start the match with some fast paced back and forth. Thankfully everyone is wearing their team shirts so that we know who belongs to whom. Rhodes tags Show, and Truth responds by tagging Kane. The two behemoths take it to each other. Show gets the first take down and hits a leg drop for two. Swagger tags in but Kane slugs at him and then tags Hardy in. Hardy dominates Swagger, reprising their ECW Title feud. The battle spills to the floor and we almost have a riot between both teams. Back in the ring Swagger goes to work on Hardy’s arm. Henry tags in and continues the trend. Michaels tags in and I’m distracted by the amount of merchandise he’s sporting. Hardy is annoyed about it too so he hits the Side Effect. Finlay tags in and he goes to work. You know this match has some interesting pairings that I would like to see in singles matches (like Finlay versus Michaels). They clunk heads and when they get up Michaels lands Sweet Chin Music. Luckily for Team Smackdown David Hart Smith had made a blind tag and the Dynasty hits the Hart Attack for two. Jericho tags in now and goes to work on his former hated rival. Nobody plays Ricky Morton like Shawn Michaels (sorry Ricky Morton). The Smackdown team tags in and out and keeps a fresh man in the ring wearing Michaels down. Tyson Kidd tries the springboard elbow but misses and Michaels makes the tag to Triple H!

The Game is all over the Hart Dynasty, and takes Finlay out as well. Kane comes in the ring illegally to Chokeslam HHH and everyone is down. Kidd rolls over for a two-count. Jericho is back in and goes for the Lionsault but HHH moves out of the way. Kingston gets tagged in for the first time and he’s a house afire. He goes for the Boom Drop but Jericho grabs his legs for the Walls of Jericho, and Kingston gets a small package for two! Kingston then hits the Trouble in Paradise but the Dynasty breaks it up. That brings Henry in the ring and Hardy and Truth take him out. Finlay hits Rhodes with the Finlay Roll, and then Swagger grabs Finlay in the Gutwrench powerbomb. Kane boots Swagger in the face and then Show spears Kane. Cole calls it “vintage Bragging Rights.” Kingston goes up top, but Show pulls him down with a Chokeslam! He turned on Team Raw! HHH objects, so Show knocks him out with a punch. Jericho rolls over and gets the pin at 15:35.

Looks like Show is more loyal to his tag team championship partner (come to think of why didn’t either of them come out with their belts?) than he is to his brand. With as often as they change brands anyway I can’t say I blame him. The 14-man tag team format ensured that there was nonstop action throughout. The Big Show swerve didn’t really affect anything long term, but neither did this match. They kept saying “the winning team will be bragging about it for a year,” but a year in this case has meant the first few weeks after this show and the few weeks leading up to this year’s show. That may sound too negative though, because I really did enjoy the match.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #5: One Hour, Anything Goes Falls Count Anywhere Iron Man Match for the WWE Championship – Randy Orton vs. John Cena

Orton has been the champion since 10.4.09 and this is his first defense. They lock up intensely to start and Cena takes Orton down with a side headlock. Orton fights back with a side headlock of his own. Cena fights back briefly but Orton reverses a whip to the buckle and goes right back on offense. Orton batters Cena with punches and kicks until Cena gets the STF on out of nowhere and Orton immediately taps out at 3:54! Cena goes up 1-0. That’s actually a smart move by Orton to preserve himself for the rest of the match. For some reason they get a 30 second rest period between falls.

Back in action Orton shows that his strategy was smart by going back to work on the challenger. He hits a vertical suplex for a two-count. He then wears Cena down with a headlock/chinlock. After several minutes of that Cena powers out and hits the Throwback. Cena goes up top and hits the Cena Slice, and signals for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Orton pops up and hits the RKO to even the score 1-1 at 8:59! Once again that leaves Orton with the advantage going into the next fall.

Orton knocks Cena off the apron, and Cena crashes ribs-first into the guardrail. He follows Cena to the floor and throws him around ringside. He then blasts him in the face with one of the television monitors but it only gets two. Orton throws Cena back in the ring and grabs the microphone. He gets back in the ring and hits Cena in the head with it, but once again it only gets two. Cena has been busted open, so the trainer has to attend to the cut as the match grinds to a halt. I mean that literally – they actually stop the clock. This gives Cena time to recover and he fires up, throwing Orton to the floor. Cena throws Orton into the steps, but when he tries again Orton reverses it and Cena crashes into the steel. Orton sets Cena’s head on the steel steps and stomps on it, but Cena kicks out at two. Back in the ring Orton hammers on Cena’s injured skull. He goes for the RKO but Cena counters it and hits a series of shoulderblocks and the Proto Plex. Cena once again goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and this time he hits it! He then goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Orton reverses it to the RKO in mid air. Both men land with their arm over the other so the referee counts a double pin at 16:46. I guess that makes it 2-2, but seems more like a free rest period to me so the doctors can fix Cena’s bloody head.

Orton charges into the corner and Cena moves out of the way. Cena sets up for a Super Attitude Adjustment and he hits it! That’s enough for the referee to make a reluctant (I don’t get that) three-count at 19:23 and Cena goes up 3-2.

During the rest period Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase run out to beat Cena down while Orton recovers! It’s Anything Goes so this is perfectly legal. DiBiase hits Dream Street and they drag Orton over for the cover and we’re tied 3-3 at 20:41. From out of nowhere Kofi Kingston comes out with a steel chair to run Legacy off!

Orton and Cena clothesline each other to take additional rest. Cena takes Orton down with punches and the champion crawls to the floor. They fight down the aisle and around the equipment area. Orton slams Cena’s head into a guardrail and then kicks him in the face for two. They fight over by the pyrotechnic area. Orton slams Cena’s head into it and some fireworks go off. He throws Cena threw part of the set and that produces another explosion! That’s enough for Orton to take a 4-3 lead at 25:20.

When the rest period expires Orton continues playing with the pyro. He pulls Cena up to the entrance ramp and smashes him with a chair. He goes back over to the pyro as the referee and the pyro guy try to talk him out of it. Orton listens to the voices in his head and tries to blow Cena up like a super villain. Fortunately Cena moves out of the blast radius. Orton pummels Cena on the way back to the ring and then whips him into the steel steps. He then picks up the steps and hurls them at Cena’s face. That only gets a two-count. The champion stomps away at the extremely weakened challenger. Orton cracks Cena with a steel chair but still can’t get a three-count. Back in the ring Cena gets a quick surprise inside cradle to steal a pin and even things up at 4-4 at 32:44.

Orton ignores the rest period and pounds on Cena in frustration. The referee pushes him off and makes him wait. When the interval is up, Orton slowly grabs Cena and hits the Orton DDT to the floor to pick up another fall and go up 5-4 at 35:04.

When the rest period is over Orton immediately goes for a cover but Cena kicks out at two. Back in the ring Orton delivers the Garvin Stomp and just hammers away at Cena. He hits a knee drop for two. Orton waits for Cena to get back to his feet and gets surprised when Cena lands a hard right hand. He takes a quick powder and checks the clock, realizing that if he can play defense for the next 20 minutes he will win this match. Cena chases him up the ramp and Orton immediately attacks. As soon as Cena starts coming back Orton retreats to the ring. Back in the ring Orton once again stomps away at the challenger. He sets up for the Orton DDT but Cena turns it into the Attitude Adjustment! Orton elbows his way out and literally starts running through the crowd. Cena catches up with him and the fight is on. Orton continues trying to run but Cena is all over him. They make it back to ringside and Cena covers for two. Cena then slams Orton into the steel steps and covers for another near fall. He works over Orton’s injured arm and shoulder, and throws him through the timekeeper’s station! That made a cool sound. Cena picks up the ring steps and slams them into Orton. He then sets the steel steps up next to the announce table, and delivers an Attitude Adjustment off the steps through the table! That ties the match 5-5 at 50:46!

We’ve got less than nine minutes to go. Cena immediately goes for another cover but Orton kicks out. He brings a table into the ring and goes out to retrieve Orton. He sets Orton up for a guillotine legdrop but Orton moves and Cena crashes through the table as we pass the 55-minute mark. They get to their knees and exchange right hands. They fight up to their feet and Cena starts the shoulderblocks and Orton avoids one, causing Cena to crash wipe the referee out. Orton hits the RKO but there’s no referee! New referee Charles Robinson makes his way down but can only get a two-count! Orton looks like he’s about to lose it, but then realizes he’s in perfect position for the Punt. Unfortunately for him Cena avoids it and locks on the STF! Orton stays in the hold for a long time but then taps out at 59:55 and Cena officially gets the win and the WWE Title for the fifth time at 60:00.

It would have been better if Orton passed out rather than tapped out with five seconds left. Other than that this match was really well put together and the falls built off each other really well. Some complained about the pyro stuff, but honestly I’ve never seen it before and I thought they made it fit in the match. Also, this is just wrestling, it’s all pretty silly.
Rating: ***¾


About Jake Ziegler

I've been in love with the movies for almost 20 years. I follow the Oscars obsessively, and try to see as many movies a year as I can. I'll watch anything good bad or otherwise, and my life long dream job has always been to be a bona fide film critic. View all posts by Jake Ziegler

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