Nice “Twas the Night Before Christmas” video package to open the show. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are at the desk.
Vickie Guerrero comes out to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, then introduces Dolph Ziggler.
United States Championship: Zack Ryder d. (C) Dolph Ziggler (C+)
The crowd is hot for Ryder. Ziggler got some heat for doing sit-ups after a move. The most annoying part was Cole and Lawler bickering throughout the whole match. Shut up please. With Ziggler in a pinfall, Vickie grabs his foot and puts it on the bottom rope. The ref sees it and tosses her from ringside. They had a nice series of nearfalls, including one from Ziggler’s Fame Asser, followed by a nice dropkick. For the finish, Ryder got his knees up against the turnbuckle to counter a splash, then hit the Rough Rider for the pinfall at 12 minutes. Post-match, Ziggler goes to celebrate with some family in the stands. Overall, not a bad opener. I expected Ryder to finally win, so I’m glad they finally did it. Hopefully this leads to a Ziggler main event push as well.
Backstage, Booker T is talking to Alicia Fox. Cody Rhodes jumped Booker.
Tag Team Championships: (C) Air Boom d. Primo & Epico (C)
Bourne gets worked on by Epico, who hit a pair of backdrop suplexes before a German suplex. Nicely done. Bourne eventually makes the hot tag to Kofi, who goes on fire. Primo avoids Trouble in Paradise, but Kofi counters with a nice springboard crossbody for two. On the outside, Bourne hits a dive on Epico. Primo charged at Kofi, who avoided him, then Primo went off the ropes before taking a Trouble in Paradise kick for the pinfall at 8 minutes. You’re typical tag match.
Backstage, Josh Mathews says Booker T is being examined and the match may be cancelled.
Backstage, Teddy Long is dressed as Santa. Hornswoggle walks in and says he’s a grown man with a beard and “mature testes.” What? He said he’s never seen a black Santa. Teddy gives him a guide to Ebonics as a Christmas present. Hornswoggle wanted a hug, but he stepped on his foot instead. What’s the point of this?
Tables Match: Randy Orton d. Wade Barrett (C)
There are 10+ tables around the ring. Barrett dominated early with a pair of blows into the ringpost. Barrett was bleeding a bit from a cut on the side of his head. Orton started making his comeback and turned Wasteland into his inverted DDT. Barrett hits a Bossman Slam, then slams a table on him. As he opens the table up, Orton is lying on his stomach. Wade went to the middle rope, but Orton jumps and catches him with an RKO through the table at 11 minutes. Nice finish.
Backstage, the Bella Twins are sitting on Santa Teddy Long’s lap. He gave them cards with his phone number on it, so they slapped him and then left.
Backstage, Jack Swagger walked into Teddy’s office and complains about Mark Henry’s chairshot from SmackDown!. Sheamus walks in and says Teddy wanted to see him. Sheamus gets booked in a match against Swagger for tonight.
Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly (D+)
Beth out alone tonight. Kelly went for the K2 finisher, but Beth pushed her out of it and went for the Glam Slam. Kelly countered that with a cradle for two, then Beth countered that as well with one of her own. Beth caught Kelly going for a hurricanrana, then landed a modified Electric Chair Drop for the pinfall at 7 minutes. Good finish.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio tells Ricardo Rodriguez to get him some food. The Miz comes in, and ADR tells him that Miz is using him. Miz says he main evented WrestleMania while ADR lost. ADR calls him a reality TV star. Ricardo came back, so Miz shoved the food in his face and then ADR shoved down Rodriguez.
Royal Rumble promo for January 29. Santino is dressed like a genie, but the crystal ball breaks.
Booker T walks down the ramp for his match, but Rhodes jumps him from behind and throws him into the barrier. Officials help him up and walk him to the back for more testing.
Sledgehammer Ladder Match: Triple H d. Kevin Nash (C)
Nash out with his nWo music. At 52 years old, he looks good. Nash hit HHH with a ladder to the head, but HHH comes back with a takedown on the table. HHH starts working on Nash’s right knee, including a weird Figure Four-type move using Nash’s knee and the ladder. Nash went for a powerbomb on the table, but HHH counters into a backdrop into the side barricade. Both men climb the ladder in the ring, reaching for the sledgehammer. HHH knocks Nash off, sending him crashing through a table. HHH grabs the sledgehammer and starts attacking Nash everywhere. HHH clears the ring and hits a Pedigree, but Nash botched the start. HHH grabs the sledgehammer for one final blow. Nash gives the Kliq sign, as HHH gives him the crotch chop. HHH lands a final sledgehammer shot to the head for the pinfall at 19 minutes. Post-match, Nash was taken out on a stretcher. Slow match, but still some decent spots.
Backstage, Matt Striker with CM Punk. He mocks Miz’ angry face and Cole’s commentary. Punk says he never got his “Superstar of the Year” Slammy, and that Ace has it. Ace walks in and offers to mail the Slammy to Punk, who says he’ll still be WWE Champion at the end of the night. Ace says he’s the bigger man/is taller than Punk.
Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger (D)
Swagger controlled early, but Sheamus made his comeback. Swagger applies the Ankle Lock, but Sheamus rolls through. After evading a dive, Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick for the pinfall at 6 minutes. It could’ve been much more had it been given time.
Backstage, Mathews with Big Show. He says he gets the luxury of using a chair on Mark Henry, and that his nine year drought as World Champion is over tonight. Good stuff.
World Heavyweight Championship: Chairs Match: Big Show d. (C) Mark Henry (D-)
Show threw some chairs in the ring, but Henry bails and leaves the match. Show attacks him from behind with chair shots, and both started going back and forth on the outside. Henry steps on Show’s hand while using the chair. Henry went for a chair shot, but Show avoided and hit the KO punch for the pinfall at 5 minutes. Show is your NEW World Heavyweight Champion. Post-match, Henry gave Show a DDT on a pile of stacked steel chairs, letting Daniel Bryan run out to cash Money in the Bank! Bryan immediately covers Show for the quick pinfall. Isn’t the rule that the title defender has to get to his feet before the match is official? Nonetheless, we have another NEW World Heavyweight Champion. Show is also being rumoured for a heel turn.
Booker T with Josh Mathews backstage. He says he didn’t ask for the fight with Cody, but he was damn sure going to finish it.
Intercontinental Championship: (C) Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T (D+)
Both guys knock each other out with double clotheslines. Booker gets up and does a Spinarooni, but is hurting from the match still, so he misses the Scissor Kick. Rhodes jumped off the ropes and hit a Beautiful Disaster for a nearfall. Cody hit another Beautiful Disaster for the pinfall at 7 minutes. As expected.
WWE Championship: TLC Match: (C) CM Punk d. The Miz & Alberto Del Rio (B+)
Ricardo Rodriguez does the introductions with a stained shirt. Ha! “We want ice cream” chant. That was fun. Miz and Punk were fighting on the turnbuckle, so ADR knocked Miz to the floor, while Punk fell through a table. ADR then applied the Cross Armbreaker on Miz while using the ladder for leverage. ADR sets up the ladder, but Miz and Punk knock it over, sending ADR groin-first onto the turnbuckle. Miz and Punk then did a double clothesline spot, so everyone was down and out. This allowed Ricardo Rodriguez to climb the ladder, but Miz and Punk knocked it over again, as Ricardo took a big spill through a pair of tables. Wow. Miz grabs a pair of handcuffs (WTF?) and locks Punk to the middle turnbuckle cable. Miz starts mocking Punk and lands a head kick. Punk tries to free himself as Miz and ADR climb their own separate ladders. Punk unscrews the metal bar thing and frees himself from the ropes, then kicks ADR off the ladder, followed by a GTS for Miz. Punk climbs the ladder and retrieves the WWE Championship at 18 minutes. Overall, a great match with some nice spots.
Three Stars of the Night
* Daniel Bryan
** CM Punk
*** Zack Ryder
Final Grade: C+
It’s great to see Punk and Bryan with titles, even though both are still viewed as ‘indie’ guys. It shows just how much time and effort they put into their craft. Mark Henry (groin) is legitimately hurt, so WWE is pulling the plug on his title run earlier than usual. No word on how long he’ll be out. Also, no John Cena for once. It’s been a while since he’s been left off the card altogether. According to some Tweets, the average age of the four major title holders is 28. Not something you see very often.