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By Mike Johnson on 2008-12-14 21:10:00

Eve Torres interviewed Randy Orton, asking him his strategy.  Cody Rhodes took the mic and said that Orton was once the crown jewel of Evolution while Batista was hired muscle.  Rhodes said that Batista isn't on their level because he doesn't have the God-given ability of a second and third generation performer like each of them.  Manu said Orton has been waiting four years to expose Batista as the fraud that he is and will cement his legacy.  Manu and Rhodes walked off.  Orton looked at Eve and then walked off.

They showed the Buffalo Bills at ringside.

Mark Henry (with Tony Atlas) vs. Finlay - Belfast Brawl

They started brawling outside immediately.  A ton of weapons got tossed into the ring.  Finlay nailed Atlas, opening up the chance for Henry to nail him with a trash can lid.  Henry splashed Finlay against the ropes, sliding through and landing on his feet outside.  Henry warned Finlay he's got the fight he wanted. 

Henry continued to beat Finlay down on the mat.  Finlay fought his way back with trash can and cane shots.  Henry cut him off but missed the Banzai Drop in the corner.  Finlay went for his shillelagh but was kicked in the face by Henry.  Henry broke the shillelagh over his knee.  Finlay tried to nail him with a cane but Henry knocked him down and broke that apart as well.

Henry locked on a bearhug but Hornswoggle appeared and tried to climb to the top.  Henry shoved Finlay backwards into the corner, knocking Hornswoggle off the ropes.  He went under the ring.  Henry picked up a trash can and used it to squeeze Finlay in a corner.  He then smashed Finlay across the back with it.  Henry grabbed the ring steps and was going to slam it down on Finlay who dropkicked him in the knee.

Hornswoggle tossed Finlay a new shillelagh.  He nailed Henry with it and scored the pin.

Your winner, Finlay!

A decent hardcore match.

The Divas were decorarating a tree when "Santa Haas" showed up.  He said that since they were all nice, he brought them presents.  Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella appeared.  He said that he knew what they really wanted for Christmas was to be Diva of the year, but they all tied for last place.  He said that since "we won" (Beth corrected him), they were going to take the next present.  Boogeyman popped up and Santino tried to run away.  Goldust was in the doorway under mistletoe.  Santino freaked and ran away.  Goldust said he just wanted to sing a song.  Boogey gave him a gift.  He, Goldust, Haas and the Divas sang "We Wish you a Merry Christmas."  Too much forced humor but Santino was awesome as usual.

Ken Kennedy did a public service announcement, saying he wants everyone to have a great holiday season but not to drink and do drugs (or fail wellness tests, I guess), but to go out and buy his movie on January 6th.  I thought it was cute.

Randy Orton vs. Batista

Orton got a pretty decent pop for his entrance.  Manu and Rhodes were at ringside at opposite sides of the ring.  They locked up in the center of the ring.  Batista backed Orton into the corner but Orton muscles his way back to the center of the ring.  Orton grabbed a side headlock and ended up tangled in the ropes, but it was a clean break.  Orton went back to the side headlock, then dropped down into a drop toehold on Batista.  He cinched in a front facelock but Batista escaped and they faced off.

Batista finally shoulderblocked Orton down.  Orton teased being scared, then dumped Batista to the floor.  Manu and Rhodes attacked him but the referee saw it and threw them out of ringside.  Orton drilled Batista outside and tossed him back into the ring.  He tossed Batista shoulder-first into the ringpost.  Orton cinched in a keylock.  Batista finally escaped and clotheslined Orton in the corner.  He powerslammed Orton and signalled for the Batista Bomb. 

Orton landed on his feet and hit a standing neckbreaker.  When he recovered, Orton locked in a cravate.  Orton slammed Batista into the mat face first, then starting nailing the Garvin Stomp.  Outside of the ring, Orton continued beating Batista, who was dazed on the apron, sending him to the floor.  Orton tossed him back into the ring and covered him for a two count.  Orton cinched in a side chinlock.  Batista finally made his way to his feet.  Batista went for a clothesline but Orton grabbed him and drove him back to the mat.

So far, it's been methodical but very good in terms of how it's laid out.  I am surprised to see Orton doing most of the dominating so far.  Batista got to his feet but Orton held onto the choke,  Batista finally nailed a sideslam.  They recovered and began slugging it out mid-ring.  Batista got the best of it and nailed a running clothesline in the corner.  He nailed another, then clotheslined Orton out of the ring to the floor.

Batista drilled Orton's face into the ring apron.  He tossed Orton into the ring and ascended to the top but was caught by Orton.  Orton nailed a superplex, the staple of his father, but only got a two count. Batista caught Orton with a spinebuster for a two count.  This has turned into a really good match.

Batista went for the powerbomb, but Orton countered and went for the RKO.  Batista shoved him off and slammed him for a two count.  Batista set up for the spear but Orton punted him in the face as he charged.  He nailed his backbreaker variation for a two count, then set up for the RKO.  He went for it but was caught and hit with a uranage for a two count.  The crowd thought that was the finish.  Orton caught him with a DDT.

Orton went for the punt but Batista caught him and slammed him into the buckles.  The crowd booed him missing the punt.  Batista caught him with a Batistabomb and pinned him clean.

Your winner, Batista!

A really good match.  Anyone who doesn't think Batista and Orton have both shown really marked improvement in recent months is obviously not paying attention.  I wouldn't be shocked to see that Pat Patterson laid this out as it was a hell of a match. Kudos to all involved.

They recapped the Slammys.  Rinse and repeat my comments earlier about paying $40 and wanting more time for the undercard wrestling.

Santa's Little Helper Tag: Maria & Kelly Kelly & Mickie James & WWE Divas champ Michelle McCool vs. Victoria & Natalya & Maryse & Jillian Hall

So that Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry from last month is already kaput?  Maryse and Mickie opened.  James nailed an armdrag.  She and Maryse went back and forth until Masryse begged off and stepped between the ropes.  She tagged in Natalya, who slapped James.  James hit a Thesz Press and unloaded. 

Kelly Kelly tagged in with a sunset flip.  Natalya nailed her with several forearms.  Kelly used a cartwheel to escape an armlock.  Team Smackdown worked over Kelly in their corner.  Natalya nailed her with a clothesline.  Jillian tagged in and flipped Kelly by her hair.  Hall went for a cartwheel into a splash but Jelly got her knees up and tagged Maria.

Maria was whipped into the corner but kicked off Hall when she charged.  Maria nailed a bulldog.  The babyfaces laid out the heels in the corner.  Michelle nailed a Styles Clash for the pin on Hall.

The women looked awesome.  The wrestling was what you would expect but they were all trying hard.

Great Khali, with new music, made his way to the ring with a big smile on his way.  Ranjin Singh announced it was time for Khali's Christmas Kiss Kam.  He picked McCool, who ran off.  Singh then said he'd kiss all the others.  None of them were exceedingly interested, even though Mickie was playing tongue hockey with the guy last Monday.  Singh said he had a back up plan.  Cue Mae Young and the barf bags.


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