And they're off...

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December 29, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- As Superstars prepare to say goodbye to 2008 and ring in the new year, tonight's Raw was filled with enough noisemakers, countdowns and determined resolutions to make Times Square jealous. With Superstars jockeying for position in the Race to the Rumble, a few ended their year on a high note and more than a few left hoping for better days in 2009.

WATCH all of the action now in the Raw Quick Cut and check out WWE.com's exclusive ringside PHOTOS.

JBL def. Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels
JBL has done it again. In a Fatal Four Way Match to determine who will face World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at the Royal Rumble, the Longhorn Loudmouth proved once again just how loudly money talks. Just as Jericho prepared to lock JBL into the Walls of Jericho, Michaels laid out the first ever Undisputed Champion with Sweet Chin Music. Next up, it was Orton who found himself on the receiving end of Sweet Chin Music. And then there were two: Employer and employee.

A conflicted Michaels pleaded with JBL not to make him lie down and lose the match. After several tense minutes, however, a torn HBK accepted his fate. Rather than lie down, though, Michaels asked JBL to give him a Clothesline from Hell. More than happy to oblige, JBL delivered and won the title opportunity at the Rumble.

The victory drives JBL another mile closer to what he covets more than anything else, the World Heavyweight Championship. While the Longhorn Loudmouth appears to be on a roll in the Race to the Rumble, once he arrives he has quite a roadblock awaiting him in the form of John Cena. (PHOTOS) (WATCH)

ECW Champion Matt Hardy def. Manu
In the third and final match for Randy Orton's group of multi-generation Superstars, Manu failed "step one" by dropping his match against ECW Champion Matt Hardy and jeopardizing his spot in the Legend Killer's "Legacy." When Manu looked for help from Cody Rhodes and Sim Snuka, however, the two turned their backs on the son of WWE Hall of Famer Afa. (PHOTOS)

Kelly Kelly confronts Randy Orton about their romantic encounter
Two weeks after fibbing to Kane about the identity of her secret lover, Kelly Kelly confronted her real secret romance … Randy Orton! After listening to Kelly Kelly berate him for not calling her back, Orton told the beautiful blond that he didn't need her to protect him against Kane. He then blew her off by telling her that he didn't need any distractions while vying for the World Heavyweight Championship.

John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Cryme Tyme & Kofi Kingston def. Kane, Mike Knox, World Tag Team Champions The Miz and John Morrison & Dolph Ziggler
After lending an ear to World Heavyweight Champion John Cena's idea to exit 2008 with a wild ride, Stephanie McMahon arranged an "Out with a Bang" 10-Man Tag Team Match pitting John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Cryme Tyme & Kofi Kingston against Kane, Mike Knox, The Miz & John Morrison & Dolph Ziggler. If Stephanie wanted to ring out 2008 on a high note, she found 10 noisemakers that fit the bill. When the ball dropped, however, it was Mysterio who stood tall with a splash from the top rope onto Knox to earn the victory for his team. (PHOTOS)

Sim Snuka def. "SuperHaas" Charlie Snuka
In the second match for Randy Orton's group of multi-generation Superstars, Sim Snuka managed to beat back the unorthodox challenge of "SuperHaas" Charlie Snuka, dressed as Sim's legendary father, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. The win propels Snuka past "step one" of Orton's win-or-you're-out-of-the-group ultimatum. (PHOTOS) (WATCH)

Melina wins Six-Diva Battle Royal; scuffles with Women's Champion Beth Phoenix & her No. 1 fan
As Superstars continue to push the pedal in the Race to the Rumble, Melina took the checkered flag in a Six-Diva Battle Royal against Kelly Kelly, Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Katie Lea and Candice Michelle. The victory earns Melina an opportunity to face Women's Champion Beth Phoenix at the Royal Rumble. Undoubtedly revved-up to send a message, Phoenix initiated a shoving match with her opponent, who showed no signs of backing down. That is until a rabid Glamazon fan, identified as Rosa Mendes, jumped the security rail and attacked Melina until security restrained her. (PHOTOS) (WATCH)

World Heavyweight Champion John Cena proposes a "giant" match for tonight to Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie McMahon had wanted World Heavyweight Champion John Cena to perform commentary during tonight's Fatal Four Way Elimination Match to see who will face him at the Royal Rumble, but The Champ had other plans. Cena proposed "going out with a bang" during the last Raw of 2008 and putting together a wild, giant match. Stephanie seemed to warm to the idea when Cena left.

Cody Rhodes def. CM Punk by count-out
In the first match of the night, Cody Rhodes survived Randy Orton's win-or-you're-out-of-the-group ultimatum by defeating CM Punk by count-out. Rhodes passed Orton's "step one" after Intercontinental Champion William Regal, who will defend his title against Punk next week, distracted Punk allowing Rhodes to sneak into the ring under the count of 10. After the match, Punk took his frustration out on Rhodes, anyway. That is, until Regal sent Punk a message with well-placed knee to the head. (PHOTOS)

Randy Orton lays out "step one" to Cody Rhodes, Sim Snuka and Manu
In an ongoing quest to mold his disciples, Randy Orton informed Cody Rhodes, Sim Snuka and Manu that tonight they must complete their first test. Each man will compete in a singles match. Each man who wins will have completed "step one," any man who loses will be out of his "Legacy."

Rey Mysterio asks Shawn Michaels for a match; JBL says "No"; Mike Knox attacks Rey; John Cena runs in for the rescue
After Shawn Michaels rescued JBL from a date with a 619 last week, Rey Mysterio arrived on Raw to demand satisfaction. The conquistador-who-leaves-‘em-wanting-more asked HBK for a match, with the winner moving on to compete in tonight's Fatal Four Way Elimination Match featuring Michaels, JBL, Randy Orton and Chris Jericho. The winner of that match will face off against World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in a title bout at the upcoming Royal Rumble. JBL, however, wouldn't hear of it.

Acting in his capacity as Michaels' employer, the Longhorn Loudmouth told Rey "no" in no uncertain terms. The situation continued to get even more interesting as a maniacal Mike Knox steamrolled through the audience and attacked Rey. As Michaels followed JBL up the entrance ramp, forced by Layfield to leave Rey to fend for himself, Cena ran in and helped out his amigo. (PHOTOS)

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