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October 26, 2009

Bragging Rights thoughts

While many fans – myself included – have been saying that they’re tired of the John Cena-Randy Orton feud and want to see each man in fresh programs, the fact is that Cena and Orton put on two compelling pay-per-view matches in a row heading into Sunday night’s Bragging Rights show.

That’s where I figured their streak would end. I really didn’t care to see these two wrestle each other again, much less for a whole hour in an Iron Man Match. Quite frankly, I just didn’t think they could hold my interest for that long.

I’m happy to say that they proved me wrong. Cena and Orton took the audience on a 60-minute roller coaster ride that ended with Cena regaining the WWE title in what was billed as the rivals’ final encounter.

You’d think I would have learned by now not to doubt Cena and Orton. Yes, their program lasted longer than it should have, but there’s no denying that they have great chemistry in the ring.

In the other world title match, The Undertaker retained his championship in a fatal four-way against Batista, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk, but the bigger story is that Batista turned heel by attacking Mysterio after the match.

Overall, Bragging Rights was a decent show, but the Cena-Orton match was the only one that really stood out.

Here is a match-by-match look at the show:

John Cena defeated WWE champion Randy Orton in a 60-Minute Iron Man Match to win the title: As with all of the Cena-Orton battles, they told a good story in this match. Knowing that they couldn’t do a Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart- or Brock Lesnar/Kurt Angle-style Iron Man match, Cena and Orton took full advantage of the anything-goes stipulation. They fought on the floor and in the crowd, and used tables, chairs, steps and other objects as weapons. There was outside interference (from Legacy), a ref bump and even blood. Oh, and Orton also tried to blow up Cena with pyrotechnics. It all added up to a very entertaining match that – at least for me – never dragged. A good portion of the match consisted of Orton destroying Cena, and Cena continually coming back and finding ways to keep pace with pinfalls. Blading is forbidden in WWE, but Cena bled hard-way early on after taking stiff shots to the head from a TV monitor and a microphone. Having some of Cena’s blood smeared on Orton’s face made for a great visual. The biggest spot in the match saw Orton place a weakened Cena on the stage and then shoot off some pyro, but Cena rolled out of harm’s way at the last second.

The first fall occurred just under four minutes into the match, as Orton quickly tapped out to an STF. It was explained that Orton would rather concede a fall than stay in the STF for a prolonged period. With Orton leading five falls to four with about 20 minutes left, he went on the defensive and tried to hang on. Cena pulled even with 9 minutes, 16 seconds remaining, however, after an Attitude Adjustment off the ring steps onto the announce table. Orton hit an RKO with 2:30 left after a ref bump. About 15 seconds went by before a second referee hit the ring and counted the pin, but Cena kicked out at two. Orton’s facial expressions were tremendous throughout the match, but his look of sheer evil and madness with less than 90 seconds to go was off the charts. Orton set up for a punt to the head, but he whiffed and Cena caught him in the STF with under a minute remaining. Orton held on for as long as he could before finally tapping out with five seconds left, giving Cena a 6-5 win. After the match, Cena did a great job of selling the emotion of surviving a war and outlasting his sworn enemy. There was no hint of dissension between Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes, as the two young members of Legacy interfered on Orton’s behalf during the match. With this feud finally put to rest – for a while at least – it will be interesting to see what’s next for Cena and Orton. Cena-Triple H and Orton-DiBiase programs are on the horizon, but they may not happen right away.

World heavyweight champion The Undertaker defeated Batista, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk in a fatal four-way match: This was a solid match, although it marked the third consecutive pay-per-view that the world heavyweight title bout went 8-10 minutes. The Undertaker, who was involved in all of those matches, reportedly is hurting badly, so that probably explains it. The action was good while it lasted. There were a bunch of near falls that were broken up by one of the other competitors. The tension between Batista and Mysterio first surfaced when Mysterio made the save during Batista’s pin attempt on The Undertaker after a Batista Bomb. Batista pie-faced Mysterio. A few minutes later, Batista threw Mysterio over the top rope onto Punk, who was standing outside the ring. When Batista turned around, Undertaker caught him with a Tombstone Piledriver for the win. With all of the frequent title changes this year, I was glad to see the champion retain.

After the match, Josh Matthews got in the ring to get a few words with Batista and Mysterio, which gave away that the turn was coming. Batista did a nice very job of morphing into a heel. He said he was tired of always coming up just short and tired of his best friend stabbing him in the back. “You think I’m playing” he asked Mysterio. “I’m not playing. I’m going to rip your head off.” And then he delivered a vicious clothesline and beat-down. A good number of fans cheered Batista. I was surprised that Batista’s turn wasn’t held off for a little bit longer, but his character definitely needed a change, as he hasn’t been a heel since early 2005. The turn makes sense from a story line standpoint, as it can be explained that the frustration from all of Batista’s near-misses in title matches and his untimely injuries finally caused him to snap. He can also say that being the warm and fuzzy “Animal” who is BFF’s with Mysterio has made him soft and prevented him from achieving his goals. The question now is whether Batista will be The Undertaker’s next challenger or if he does a program with Mysterio first. And where does all of this leave Punk?

Team Smackdown (Chris Jericho, Kane, Finlay, Matt Hardy, The Hart Dynasty and R-Truth) defeated Team Raw (DX, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes and Jack Swagger): As I expected, The Big Show turned on his Raw teammates. He choke-slammed Kingston, which allowed Jericho to make the winning pin. As Triple H tried to make the save, Big Show knocked him out with a right hand. The action was good, but, as I have previously written, the brand vs. brand premise just didn’t excite me. It was nice, however, to see guys such as R-Truth, Swagger and The Hart Dynasty getting a chance to mix it up with the big boys and not coming off as inferior. There were a few interesting match-ups, too. At one point, Michaels was in against Hardy, and it struck me that I couldn’t recall the two veterans ever working against each other before. It also was cool seeing The Hart Dynasty deliver The Hart Attack to Michaels, Bret Hart’s archrival. Early in the match, Big Show got a near fall on Kane, which in retrospect doesn’t make sense if Big Show double-crossing his team was pre-meditated. It was weird after the match how babyfaces R-Truth, Hardy and Finlay celebrated a tainted victory. By the way, how come Michaels and Triple H were the only guys in the match not wearing their brand’s t-shirt? Michaels, at least, had his tied around his waist.

The Miz defeated John Morrison: The former tag team partners opened the show with a good match. The finish was a surprise, as Miz scored the clean pin after he knocked Morrison off the ropes as he was setting up for Starship Pain. Who did Morrison tick off? There’s no way he should be losing to Miz, especially without outside interference or some other form of chicanery.

Smackdown Divas (Michelle McCool, Natalya and Beth Phoenix) defeated Raw Divas (Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim and Melina): This wasn’t a bad match. Phoenix scored the win for her team after hitting The Glam Slam on Melina. There was no dissension among the babyfaces, but there was some tension between heels McCool and Phoenix. McCool, by the way, came out to the ring wearing a hooded jacket. So not only has she stolen A.J. Styles’ finisher, but his look as well.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 1:08 PM | | Comments (31)
        

Comments

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the Cena/Orton matches as well. They may seem boring and repetitive to some, but those guys have great chemistry with one another. I believe that this was the first ever ironman match to be contested under Anything Goes rules and Falls Count Anywhere.

As far as the Orton/Dibiase program, it can start taking place soon. I really do not know how a Cena/Triple H feud can happen because of Big Show turning on Raw in the 14-man tag team match. I'm guessing that DX feuds with JeriShow, while Cena gets in the mix with either Dibiase or another performer who could use a rub from working with Cena.

And one thing I also noticed in the ironman match is when Cena locked in the STF by using the crook of his arm to add pressure on the neck rather than clasping his hands under the neck like he usually does.

See, I think The Miz needed the clean win. Losing to him won't hurt Morrison, but it gives The Miz is first singles PPV victory and shows that the powers that be have some faith in him.

Man McCool first stole A.J Styles' finisher now his entrance what's next his kid?

What do you think about Kofi getting involved in the main event?

RESPONSE FROM KE: Definitely a good sign for him. Looks like a program with Cody Rhodes looming.

It also was cool seeing The Hart Dynasty deliver The Hart Attack to Michaels, Bret Hart’s archrival.
------------------------------------------------------

Are you really Kevin Eck or his twin brother???

i was really impressed with cenas power and aggresive behavior in the match. I was so happy when Batista turned heel. I really was disappointed Punk didnt win the title. I'm like what the heck you got Undertaker a man currently working on a injury as the champion.

"It was weird after the match how babyfaces R-Truth, Hardy and Finlay celebrated a tainted victory."

_________________________________

I didn't see the pay-per-view, but my guess is that Team Raw, representing the A Show, was the babyface side while Team Smackdown was the heel side, no matter what the individual wrestlers' roles were on their respective shows. That 's how it was with the buildup to Survivor Series 2005: Team Smackdown was heelish in its encounters with Team Raw, the babyfaces joining in with the heels as they put the boots to a member of Raw.

Thought this was a pretty strong PPV, considering the lack of excitement I had going into it knowing that Orton and Cena would be wrestling for an entire hour. But both guys really delivered and it was a great match. Just don't want to see Cena feuding with Hunter again now but I can't think of anyone else on Raw that would be his next logical opponent.

Loved Batista's heel turn. Finally, his character is getting an upgrade. His intensity when he held Rey's head in his hands on the outside of the ring during his rampage was pretty cool. Think these two should definitely go on to feud properly with each other, as Rey has proven in the past he can have decent matches with opponents of pretty much any size and with the two men obviously being good friends in 'real life', this could lead to something nice.

As for Punk, I know he's wrestling Undertaker in a Casket Match for the World Title on the U.K edition of Smackdown, which comes from Sheffield, so he'll be in the title hunt for at least a bit longer. Hopefully this will lead to more World Titles for Punk, as I think he's been one of the most intriguing performers of the year, with his fantastic feud with Jeff Hardy over the summer and his brilliant heel turn, etc.

I agree that the concept of Raw vs Smackdown is pretty stupid considering how often wrestlers switch brands each year. Like when Hunter said on Raw last week in his verbal confrontation with Jericho that he "doesn't like Smackdown". This is just ridiculous considering that Hunter was on the Blue Brand for most of last year and only got drafted back earlier this year. Same with every politician - they always lie. Still liked the tag match at the PPV, glad to see Smackdown get the win as it's pretty obvious that it's been producing much better content in terms of wrestling action than the so called "flagship show" has.

That's all, sorry if it's too long :)

"By the way, how come Michaels and Triple H were the only guys in the match not wearing their brand’s t-shirt?"

Ya think you can tell us what to wear?


RESPONSE FROM KE: Well done!

Kev,

Great comments as always. The only that irked me was Orton tapping with 5/6 seconds to spare. Surely being 'unconscious' or tapping earlier would have made more sense. With only that short amount of time to go, he would have held on. Anyway, I really enjoyed that match, and rank it right up there in the top 5 WWE matches this year

RESPONSE FROM KE: His back was turned to the clock, so perhaps he didn't know how much time was left, although the crowd was counting down.

Hey Kev, I actually thought the woman's match was a bit sloppy, especially at the end. It looked like Melina and Beth Phoenix botched the finish, in the corner, at which point Beth just dragged her to the center of the ring and did her finisher. Maybe that's what they meant to do all along, but it just looked sloppy to me.

I definitely agree with you about it being obvious that Batista would turn the second Matthews tried to interview him in the ring. Also, how come Matt Stryker
wasn't doing commentary last night? Maybe they thought two play-by-play guys (Grisham and Cole) would be better with Lawler, but Stryker is by far their best announcer now, and I really wish they'd just acknowledge that and think of excuses for him to do PPVs.


RESPONSE FROM KE: No Striker because there was no ECW match.

The next thing you know, the lights are gonna go out and the pyro is gonna go off and what do you know, there goes McCool.

I can't believe that I wasted my money on that. Woeful PPV. WWE sucks right now. TNA rules.

You seem a little too confident that it was the last match between Cena and Orton for awhile. I will not be surprised if the next month's ppv is a triple threat or a fatal fourway between dx, orton, and cena.

When Linda doesn't get elected, will they go back to a non pg rating?

Go easy on the Miz. I think he has a lot of potential and he is from Cleveland. Plus, morrison's character seems like a 3rd grader trying to act cool.

I got to agree that Morrison's babyface promos are very weak.Everything he says is as bad as "I am rubber and you are glue" etc.
I thought the idea was to make him a 21st century incarnation of Jim Morrison,a sullen,sexy iconoclast maybe who didnt say much except maybe once in a while some goofy poetry about dead horses and such.All he would really have to do is wait for the arena to get quiet then he booms out "You can NOT petition the Lord with prayer!".Less is more in this case,but he really doesnt have the voice to pull it off.The shades are pretty good tho.The boots have to go,yeesh.

Highlight of the night was Orton hitting the RKO on Cena while he was doing his god-awful five knuckle shuffle. Oh, bliss.

Hmmm, Batista turns heel and John Cena wins the WWE championship... I smell a WM26 main event brewing.

Which is unfortunate because it would totally disrupt my hope for HHH vs. HBK for the WWE championship at WM26.

I suspect Survivor Series will have John Cena/Ted DiBiase, DX/Jerishow, Bats/Rey, and Taker will get screwed out of the title, then all the guys can move into your programs of Cena/HHH, Taker/Bats, and Orton/DiBiase.

Are my brother-in-law and I the only two who heard Taker tell Batista he was going to pin him with a tombstone. At one point in the match (within the final two minutes) Taker clearly uses the word "tombstone" while his head is over Batista's. This ins't a criticism, though the use of the high qualitiy microphones might be called into question.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I heard some chatter from them but couldn't really make out what they were saying.

I couldn't believe that I actually ordered this ppv but I found myself happy with my decision. The match was great and I found myself entertained. Despite the fact that I can't stand Cena, I have to give all the respect in the world to him for the effort and gritiness that he showed last night. The ppv as a whole was not spectacular and just average, with one high point. As a huge Punk mark I can't help but be concerned as to where his future lies. Hey Kevin I would like to hear your thoughts on what the potential WHC and WWE title scenes will be.

See, Orton doesn't care about paying a fine for slicing his opponent's skull. He did so with Shane in No Way Out and he did it again with Cena this time. Besides, SmackDown vs. Raw (the game which this PPV was inspired) always had blood, and it doesn't change in 2010. Why not?

Bret must've felt good if he saw that Hart Attack against HBK.

As for Kofi and Cody having a program... They represent the gamer community and they're promoting SmackDown vs. Raw 2010, so I find that premise a no-brainer.

Maybe it should be a criticism Matt.There is a lot of sloppy spot-calling going on lately.I know the business is exposed and all so who cares,but it would be nice to see guys (and girls) performing the art with some finesse.

i loved the orton-cena match, but it didnt make any sense for orton to tap with 5 secs left. they shoulda had orton hold on and then go into overtime. i wouldve made orton look stronger, cena can still get the win , and you would get the extra excitement of sudden death overtime.
i dont know how they can keep orton out of the title picture on raw though, after building up his character for the last 2 years.

I would like to comment on McCool only really. Who cares? Angle used a hood, Christian did too. Oh the controversy. Aj's hood is like am open vest, McCool's...a robe. All these connections sure make for some juicy trolling topics... -_-

Hey Kev, I ask you seriously, is the WWE going this soft?? I mean I have been a hardcore WWE/WWF fan for as long as I can remember, but when my pre teen-teen kids dont want to watch anymore because there is absolutely no reality to the so called violence ( blood), should I continue anymore?? Coming in to "treat" Cena's real injury was not only ridiculous but a true travesty to what wrestling has become.... TNA still keeps it real, but please Kev get a note to Vince... I am the one buying the PPvs not my kids...and when you can get more violence on Sponge Bob I have to question why I spend $40 a month?

RESPONSE FROM KE: Definitely a good sign for him (Kofi). Looks like a program with Cody Rhodes looming.

. . . or definitely one with Orton I mean.

Sorry, but I had a hard time trying not to fall asleep while the Cena/Orton match (and a few minutes I really did.) I found it pretty boring and I´m so glad that this feud is finally over. O.k. I´m no Cena fan (his gimmick hasn´t changed for years, always the same old ...) and Orton for me is just overrated.
I´m curious who will be the next No.1 contender for Cena as I don´t see anyone on the horizon. But please, not Cena vs. HHH again.
I hope Punk gets another title shot, he´s by far the best heel of the WWE.
I was surprised too that the Miz won over Morrison, but I don´t think it will hurt Morrison and the Miz definitely needs some victories. Btw, best match of the night for me.
Overall not a bad PPV but nothing special either.
And at least we have 4 weeks until the next PPV.

I yawned so much during this snoozefest, I think I developed narcolepsy.

Ok I gotta say I liked the Orton-Cena Matchbut the fact that cena won was a load of bull. Don't get me wrong I like Cena and I just new he'd be the one winning before the match started but after seeing the match and how cena got his a-- kicked from time the opening bell rang I totally thought randy should have won the match. I mean come on who gets there a-- kicked all night and still wins the fight(Besides Lyoto the dragon Machieda)Who's idea was it to book the match like this its like somebody said hey lets have Cena get his a-- kicked and then win anyway that'll be totally believable.

Orton's facial expressions weren't amazing. they were godly.

Though out the match Orton really showed us why he deserved to be a main eventer. I actually got scared from Orton's face during the last minute.

You would think that the deadman would have a bit of a problem with his girl imitating a man other than himself.

I hated this Payperview. Cause of a couple of reasons....

The name of the Show was BRAGGING RIGHTS...

AND I DIDNT SEE ANY MIC AT ALL????????

How can stupid WWE, let go of MICS, on a BRAGGING RIGHTS SHOW? Wasnt there supposed to be moments of bragging? How could they miss that... Damn!

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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