John Cena comes out to start this week’s edition in Tampa, Florida. A split reaction with half boos and half cheers. He talks about Roddy Piper and thanks him for what he said last week. He says again that everyone has the right to say whatever they want about him. He has the crowd boo for him then cheer for him. So far this segment is a big waste of time. Finally he changes the subject and talks about CM Punk. He wants a title shot. I’m kinda for that idea. Their matches were epic. Alberto Del Rio comes out with his bad mic skills and says the match is his. Cena says “you lost and everyone saw it.” Del Rio says “that didn’t count.” What amazing dialogue and writing so far tonight. (Sarcasm of course.) Del Rio shows the clip of his head being bounced off the exposed turnbuckle last week, and says that Punk cheated. Seriously end this segment…I’m squirming in my seat. Oh thank god, “excuse me”, here comes Vickie Guerrero…with Dolph Ziggler. Apparently Dolph deserves a title shot. Ziggler asks Cena and Del Rio if they know who has the longest title reign in the company. It’s Ziggler. That is a good point. Ziggler has been United States Champion for a long time. This segment doesn’t get any better. Cena tells a bad joke and Ziggler talks about some Jersey Shore guy and says he’s sexy and he knows it. Cena says something about how Zack Ryder should be #1 contender for the US title. Ziggler asks if “boring” is trending on Twiter while Cena talks. Good one. “Awesome” here comes The Miz. This is the guy I want to see take on Punk in a new feud. The Miz’s first response is…”really.” He plugs the 3 hour Slammy Award show next week. Miz looks at Del Rio and says his title reign wasn’t one month long. He looks at Ziggler and says he doesn’t need Vickie Guerrero to get him over. That’s the line of the night so far. John Laurinaitis comes out. He wants to shatter Punk’s perception that he is boring and uncreative. He says each guy in the ring will face a Smackdown guy and if they win they are entered into a championship match at the TLC Pay Per View (which is in Baltimore MD!!!) Cena has a special “social experiment” match. The Miz’s match is first against Randy Orton. Bad segment. It would have been better to start the show off with a graphic showing how each guy would face a Smackdown wrestler for a title shot. That would have saved 18 minutes.
The Miz vs. Randy Orton- This could be the main event! Great first match to have on a show. Tie up to start with a shoulder block by Orton. Miz comes back with a kick to the knee and hard punches that puts Orton in the corner. Orton counters with European uppercuts that sends Miz to the mat. He stomps away at every part of The Miz’s body. Miz works back up and hits his big boot to the face and then another on the mat. #Raw, Zack Ryder, and Alberto Del Rio are all officially trending on Twitter. Miz hits a back breaker into a neck breaker. After a chin lock, Orton powers up with clotheslines and his snap power slam. Orton goes for his hanging DDT off the ropes but Miz counters and sends Orton over the ropes. Miz goes to the outside to get him but gets a snap power slam on the outside. Wade Barrett’s music hits and he comes down to the ring. Orton chases him off and gets counted out. What a bad finish. A count out? Really? At least The Miz’s counter to that DDT was sweet. That’s the first time anyone has ever countered that. That will be the move of the night. Orton comes back down the ramp to attack Miz but Barrett jumps him from behind. Ugh. The good news is that The Miz will be in the WWE Championship match at the TLC PPV in Baltimore MD.
It’s time for a video announcement about the WWE Network that will debut next year. It has weird robot music behind it that I think the kids call dub something. It’s a bunch of words that talks about new programming and a show called Legend’s House that will have WWE legends living under one roof. If The Iron Sheik isn’t on that I don’t wanna see it.
In the back Zack Ryder is with John Laurinaitis. Ryder says exactly what I just wrote and says that The Iron Sheik has to be on that show. Laurinaitis tells Ryder that Ziggler has filed a complaint against Ryder’s petition for a US Championship match. Laurinaitis says he agrees with Ziggler. John Cena comes up wearing Zack Ryder sunglasses and a new spiked hair Zack Ryder wig that the WWE is actually selling. I love it. I can see myself wearing one of those. Cena rambles on for awhile and acts like the doctor from Back to the Future. Laurinaitis says that the social experiment will be Cena vs. Ryder. If Cena wins, he is in the WWE Championship match at TLC. If Ryder wins, he gets a US Title shot at Ziggler. Cena says the match doesn’t need to happen. Both guys are very angry.
David Otunga is in the back talking to Kevin Nash. He tells him that he will face Triple H at TLC in a ladder match. Nash says he doesn’t do ladder matches. Otunga says there will be a sledgehammer hanging above the ring and the winner gets to beat the other guy with it. Nash says he can do a ladder match. He tells Nash that he is in action tonight. Nash doesn’t care who his opponent is because its not Triple H. Michael Cole says it will be the first time in 8 years that Nash has a match on Raw. So….a ladder match? A sledgehammer ladder match? Who wants to see that? That will be awful. Nash can barely walk, how is he supposed to climb a ladder? That one will be a good time for a bathroom break if your at the TLC PPV. During commercial break we see a Rent a Center commercial with Hulk Hogan as Santa Claus. That might be the last time you’ll ever get to see Hulk Hogan on the USA Network on a Monday Night! Last time I checked he still runs that awful TNA company.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan- This match has amazing potential. In my opinion these two guys are both in the top 3 of best wrestlers in the company. Bryan would be #1. Punk would be #2. Del Rio would be #3. Here we go. Tie up and Bryan is powered into the corner. Kick to the arm and shoulder thrusts. Stomps to the arm while Bryan is on the mat. WWE Network and Kevin Nash are trending on Twitter. Bryan takes control with a moonsault flip off the top rope that counters Del Rio. He hits a hanging clothesline and a series of nasty kicks to the chest. He goes for a tornado DDT but Del Rio catches him. Bryan holds on with a dragon sleeper. Del Rio throws Bryan into the ring ropes and hits the Cross Arm Breaker for the win. Are you serious? A match that short. After they just spent all that time pushing Bryan into a main event World Championship match on Smackdown? Pathetic booking. Yes, I said pathetic. So pathetic that I want to turn off my tv. You don’t push a guy that good for an entire month just to job him out to a paper champion in a 3 minute match. The WWE really needs to step it up. This stuff your putting on tv tonight is garbage. Terrible writing, terrible dialogue, weak finishes, and short matches. Plus we still have to watch Kevin Nash wrestle. It feels like I’m watching TNA tonight. What’s wrong with wrestling lately? I was even disappointed the last time I saw Ring of Honor. CM Punk is right about everything he says. The WWE needs to change. Most nights I’m entertained and I can deal with mediocrity, but not tonight. Not when you job out the best wrestler in the world. This is garbage.
So we’re about to have a Diva’s match….but….they go to show a highlight package of Beth and Natalya when it’s interrupted by the newest cryptic “It begins” video. First of all I gotta say that I’m not too happy with them bringing these videos to tv. The way they were pushing them with social media was innovative and cool. Now they are starting to become typical. Let’s take a look at what the video said. The video cuts in with the same old field that we’ve been seeing. The ball that was rolling across the floor last week now shoots across the field. The little boy at the desk says “behold the power will come with vengeance to render his anger with fury.” The little girl from last week walks behind him and disappears. Then he disappears and that same ball is rolling across the floor. They reappear and he says “the deception the weak have perpetrated will be castigated.” We see the swings swinging. The little boy is now in the corner and says “the second day of 2012 the prophet will emerge and destroy the weak. It will be the end of the world as you know it.” The creepy little girl is now in the middle of the room staring up at the camera. This week’s text reads “look within.” Maybe within the WWE? So someone already under contract? Does that eliminate Jericho? If it does then it has to be The Undertaker. Those big words sound like something Jericho would be saying though. My money is still on Jericho IF the WWE can re-sign him soon. If they can’t re-sign him then The Undertaker will be used. I just can’t see it being anyone else at this point. The only other small chances would be Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. So the Diva’s video comes back into play.
Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres w/ Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya- The match starts with Natalya powering Kelly into the corner. Quick tag to Beth who hits a side slam then a power slam. I just realized Alicia Fox is at ringside. Beth hits a back breaker. Kelly hits the small package for the win. And that’s it. For real. Another 2 minute match. Pathetic. Where is CM Punk tonight? Please give me Punk so that the second hour could possibly be saved.
Zack Ryder vs. John Cena- Remember what I said last week about Cena not needing to be a heel? This is exactly why. Cena can wrestle anyone in the company in his current role. He can wrestle a big face like Ryder and instantaneously be a heel to those he needs to be. He’s in the perfect situation. So this is a rare face vs face match where Cena will act as the tweener. Let’s go Ryder chants are faint. The crowd tonight in Tampa is pretty bad. Cena starts with an arm hold and chain wrestles Ryder into a headlock. Ryder sends Cena off the ropes but Cena hits a shoulder block. Back up Ryder tries it again and this time hits a flying axe handle. He applies a headlock. The two go back and forth one upping each other which results in a head lock at the end of each spot. Cena is really putting Ryder over as a good wrestler by letting him one up all his moves. Ryder counters the AA by slamming the back of Cena’s head into the mat. Swinging neck breaker from Ryder for the near fall. Double knees from Ryder and a dropkick off the top rope. Ryder goes back up a second time but Cena catches him. Ryder fights him off and hits a tornado DDT. He sets up for the Rough Ryder. Cena ducks and hits a series of shoulder blocks. Cena uses the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the AA but Ryder hangs onto the ropes. He charges Ryder, but he moves, and Cena crashes into the corner. Samoa Joe kick in the corner by Ryder. He sets up for another Rough Ryder but Cena counters it into the AA for the win. Pretty solid match. Dolph Ziggler is seen in the back smiling. Why would he be smiling? If he is in the WWE Championship match at TLC that means that he now has to face an extra guy. The chance of winning is much higher with a smaller number of guys. But I guess the writers didn’t really think about that tonight. Shame on Michael Cole for not bringing up that point. Back in the ring Ryder is angry with Cena and says “that was my one shot.” Cena says hold on a second and walks to the back.
Back from commercial break Michael Cole is sitting at ringside with his two Slammy awards. He puts over the Slammy award show that will happen next Monday night. He and Jerry Lawler plug the online voting for superstar of the year. The nominees are John Cena, The Miz, Mark Henry, CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, and Randy Orton. Of course CM Punk should and will win next week.
In the back Otunga is with Laurinaitis when Cena comes barging in. He shouts at Laurinaitis and says to listen to the people and give Ryder his match. He says Zack worked his ass off and almost beat him. Laurinaitis says he will give Ryder another chance to earn a shot if Cena takes himself out of the WWE Championship match. Cena shouts saying nobody in the office has ever given Ryder a shot and that he gives up his spot. The match will be no DQ. Now this is finally some writing that I like. That’s a unique storyline. And now I can actually see all of this building towards a John Cena heel turn. I still don’t think it needs to happen, but it just may.
The Kane resurrected promo airs again with him throwing down the burning mask. After thinking about this, I think that Kane will be returning wearing the mask. And that’s exactly what he needs to do. When Kane first debuted with the mask, he was awesome. Coming into random matches and destroying everyone was great. He needs to do that same thing again. Then there came a point where Kane got really boring and needed to lose the mask. Once he lost it he was really cool again. He was actually the top heel in the company at that time. But over the years he got really boring again. A return to the mask would be fresh, retro, and cool again. I’m actually excited for his January return…if he wears the mask. If he doesn’t wear the mask I don’t really care about his return. If he runs in on random matches and destroys everyone then I will anticipate seeing him every week.
No DQ match: Zack Ryder vs. World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry- Of course it’s Henry. This is a great idea. Ryder is really really being built up tonight. He gets to take John Cena to the limit and now he gets to face a champion. He looks like a big time underdog tonight and really gets the people behind him. Not that they weren’t already behind him. Henry powers over Ryder with punches and back clubs. Ryder fights back with everything he has but is hit with a body block. “Let’s go Ryder Woo Woo Woo” chants begin. Ryder takes out Henry’s leg and bashes it against the post on the outside of the ring. He enters the ring again and hits another Samoa Joe face squash in the corner. Henry gets back up and pushes Ryder to the mat. John Cena comes out and hits the AA on Henry. He drags Ryder over top of Henry for the win. Ryder and Cena celebrate a lot. Zack Ryder is finally the #1 contender to the United States Championship! Hopefully the match is at TLC in Baltimore.
In the back Ziggler is angry with Vickie Guerrero. Vickie says she talked to Laurinaitis and there is nothing he can do. She says his opponent tonight is Sheamus. And then comes the funniest segment of the night. Jack Swagger says he will be in Dolph’s corner to help him. Ziggler tells him no because he will screw him over anyways. Swagger gets angry and the two argue. Ziggler laughs and says “I’m just playing.” The two laugh it off together. Swagger says “ok so I’ll see you out there then?” And with a straight face Ziggler says “no” and walks away. That one gets a big LOL.
Kevin Nash vs. Santino Marella – Nash comes out with a sledgehammer, his old Diesel gear, and thinning stringy black hair. Cole says it’s his first match on Raw since August 18th, 2003. Wasn’t that the night that he got into the ring after months of rehab and tore his quadriceps moments after being tagged into the ring? That’s one of the funniest moments in wrestling history. He had that long hard recovery period that lasted months and months just to be re-injured within minutes. Will he tear anything tonight? Let’s find out. Santino comes out angry looking for payback from a few weeks ago when he was Jackknifed by Nash. The bell rings. Santino goes to tie up, but is kneed in the gut. Nash hit’s one of his 4 moves, the side slam. Then he hits the second of his 4 moves, the big boot. Brodus Clay and Masked Kane are now trending on Twitter. Back to the “match.” Nash has 2 more moves left in his arsenal, will he do them? He hits the Jackknife Powerbomb for the win. That’s it. And he still had the snake eyes off the ropes to spare. I guess he’s saving move #4 for a more important match. Nash grabs the sledgehammer. He teases hitting Santino and then puts his arms in the air. Nash looked about as agile in the ring as Vader did in his last WWE appearance a long time ago. That’s the night he walked in the ring and fell down immediately. Another one of the greatest moments in wrestling history.
Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero vs. Sheamus– Ziggler dives under Sheamus’ tie ups. His show boating is getting funnier and funnier. Sheamus powers him down and rubs his forearm in his face. Nothing better than rubbing your forearm in someone’s face. I do it to little cousins all the time. Ziggler is quick and hits a nice drop kick. Sheamus punches away and wraps Ziggler up in the ropes. Then comes his viscious chest beating through the ropes. A suplex follows. Now trending on Twitter we have Mark Henry, #WWWYKI, and Santino. (WWWYKI would be woo woo woo you know it.) Back to the match, Sheamus chokes Ziggler on the ropes. Ziggler comes back viciously with a drop kick and some stomps. Then a chin lock, which I’ve seen way too many of tonight. Ziggler counters a power slam and hits a Fame Asser for a near fall. Another chin lock but Sheamus throws Ziggler out of that one. Sheamus with a couple running axe handles, headbutts, and a clothesline. He sets up for the Celtic Cross but Ziggler rolls down the back. Sheamus goes charging but misses. Zack Ryder’s music hits and he runs down the ramp. Ziggler is distracted as Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick for the win. Wow Zack Ryder sure is being used a lot tonight. He was involved in 3 different matches tonight and had a backstage promo. I’ll never complain about that. Ryder gets in the ring and hits the Rough Ryder on Ziggler. The terrible crowd kinda cheers as loud as they have all night. It looks like the main event at TLC in Baltimore will be CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio. The contract signing is next. OMG I hate contract signings. At least Punk is in it. Hopefully they just let him talk and say what he wants. We haven’t seen one of those segments in far too long.
Back in the ring The Miz and Alberto Del Rio are in suits. John Laurinaitis comes out. He talks about Brodus Clay debuting soon, next week’s 3 hour Slammy Awards show, and next week’s main event John Cena vs. Mark Henry. Then he introduces CM Punk. Finally, Punk comes down to the ring. He gets rid of the chair and table in the ring and says this is a big cliche. He says these things always end in a pier 6 brawl and wants that term to trend on Twitter. He says Laurinaitis is neither creative nor exciting and that there hasn’t been a peaceful contract signing since Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3. He tells Laurinaitis to play the part of Jack Tunney so that they can all sign and then fight. Laurinaitis says he is Mr. excitement and that the match at TLC will be a TLC match. Who woulda thought? Miz says that he took out R-Truth and John Morrison. Punk says “You took them out? Like on a date?” He asks if he took them out to see the new Twilight flick. Miz said he injured Morrison so bad that Laurinaitis had to release him. Laurinaitis says “I’d like to take this time to wish John Morrison the best in his future endeavors.” Of course that is the line that he has used for many years when giving public statements about the firings of employees. I hear that their is a “future endeavors” shirt coming out. That’s kinda funny. I do like him using that line. I don’t think they should spit on John Morrison though. I miss his exciting athleticism already. Especially with mostly bad matches tonight. Miz says he doesn’t regret it. They used to be his friends and he doesn’t like Punk or Del Rio. He says he’s the most must see WWE Champion of all time. Punk says “that was a lot of information.” Good line. He tells Miz to concern himself with TMZ and Hollywood while he concerns himself with being the best wrestler in the world. Del Rio starts to talk. Why does he need to speak? I love Del Rio but I never want to hear him talk. Especially not when two talkers like Punk and Miz are in the ring. Del Rio says they are little girls and that he is the best in the world. He say’s in 2011 he won the Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, and the WWE Championship. Punk cuts him off and says “if you say it’s because of your destiny I swear to Jebus I’m gonna start drinking.” We have a new best line of the night. It’s funny because Punk is Straight Edge and doesn’t drink or do drugs of any kind. Miz says Punk won’t walk out WWE Champion. He signs the contact. Then Del Rio does. He tells Punk he will lose. How original. Punk wants to fight after he signs but Laurinaitis says no. He signs. Laurinaitis wishes them luck and says he’s looking forward to the match. He asks for a photographer to come in and take a picture. Punk says “come on, even your contract signings are boring.” They take a nice awkward photo that can be seen above. Then Punk says if you want anything right you gotta do it yourself. Then he attacks Del Rio. They brawl. Miz flees. Punk goes for the Go To Sleep on Ricardo but Del Rio saves him this time. Miz comes from behind and tries to hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Del Rio. They fight into the corner and Punk hits a double knees to the face. He bulldogs Del Rio through the table then hits the GTS on Miz. He celebrates with the title.
My thoughts: The second half got better. The first half was disastrous and awful. Just awful. I really like the Zack Ryder double booking and storyline. I really liked the mic skills out of Punk and Ziggler. That was all I really remember about this show. Everything else was bad.
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