This recap and analysis of WWE’s Monday Night Raw are the personal opinions of the writer.  The author of this article is a former promoter, writer, and referee in the wrestling industry.  You won’t find analysis as accurate as this anywhere else on the internet.

We’re officially on “The Road to Wrestlemania.”  After an exciting Royal Rumble Pay Per View event, what was the fallout on Raw?  Who won the Rumble?  Who are the current champions?  How will the results from the Rumble affect both the current product and Wrestlemania itself?  Read on my friends…
WWE Monday Night Raw Results 1/30/12

John Laurinaitis comes down the aisle.  He is extremely happy and is sucking up to the fans.  He smacks hands with fans around the ring.  His job will be reviewed tonight by Triple H.  I’m trying to figure out why the emphasis on this show is on the General Manager situation when there is a Royal Rumble winner to celebrate?  That should have started the show. The Wrestlemania 28 sign is hung above the ring as the road to Wrestlemania officially begins. Laurinaitis says Triple H is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and says that he himself did a great job at the Royal Rumble and called the match right down the middle.  He puts over the next Pay Per View “Elimination Chamber” and announces the main event to be CM Punk vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. R-Truth vs. Chris Jericho inside the Elimination Chamber.  He spits off a couple of matches for tonight including Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk.  If that actually happens I will probably pee my pants.  Laurinaitis stumbles and bumbles over his words for awhile.

CM Punk’s music hits and he comes out singing na na na na hey hey hey goodbye.  He even makes Jerry Lawler and ring announcer Justin Roberts sing it.  Laurinaitis laughs it off and says that he didn’t screw Punk out of the title, just as he said.  Punk calls him a ham sandwich and a dork.  Punk says that Laurinaitis can’t speak on a microphone and has figured out a way to suck and blow at the same time.  Laurinaitis wants to start over fresh.  Punk says he wants to put him to sleep.  Punk vs. Bryan, Elimination Chamber, Kofi Kingston, Beth Phoenix, and Justin Roberts are all trending on Twitter.

Daniel Bryan’s music hits.  He comes running down the aisle yelling “yes yes yes.”  He tells Punk and Laurinaitis that nobody cares about their storyline.  Punk says that he is the best in the world.  That’s an inside joke.  Bryan used to call himself “Best in the World” in Ring of Honor, and CM Punk calls himself that now.  Punk admits that the two are good friends and have known each other for over a decade.  He wants to give the world the best wrestling match in the world.  Please do.

The 2012 Royal Rumble winner Sheamus makes his way down to the ring.  Please don’t add Sheamus to this match.  I want Punk vs. Bryan.  I actually want Punk vs. Bryan at Wrestlemania.  That would have been the greatest match in Wrestlemania history.  Yes, I said it.  And I mean it.  These two guys are literally the best two “wrestlers” in the world.  No disrespect to Sheamus, who I think is good.  Sheamus reminds both guys that he will be main eventing Wrestlemania.  He tells Laurinaitis that he hopes Triple H kicks him in the arse, and something about lacey undies.  #clownshoes is trending on Twitter, which is something that Punk called Laurinaitis.  The ratings must be through the roof tonight, because Raw is dominating Twitter.  Punk vs. Bryan is still trending because it’s all people are thinking about.  Can we please skip the rest of the show and get to that?  I can’t wait.  I know it’s probably not going to be a clean match, and I know I’ll probably end up disappointed, but I can’t wait.

Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero- Josh Matthews is up in a sky box where Wade Barrett is watching.  Barrett is doing commentary from up there.  That’s pretty cool.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them do that before.  I like things that are unique.  Tie up to start.  Ziggler pushes Orton into the corner, and throws his legs into him.  Irish whip, reversed, leap frog, another reversed Irish whip, and Ziggler struts.  Orton grabs him in a grounded headlock.  Ziggler makes it to his feet, but is caught with a shoulder block.  Ten count in the corner by Orton.  Another reversed Irish whip results in an Orton clothesline.  European uppercuts from Orton, Irish whip into the corner, Ziggler gets his feet up, boot to the face.  Ziggler dropkicks Orton from behind as we go to commercial.  A pretty boring match thus far.  They really haven’t done anything yet.  Barrett on commentary is holding my attention better than the match is.

Back from commercial Ziggler has Orton in a sleeper hold.  Orton backs him into the corner to break the hold.  Another boots to the face Irish whip spot that gives Ziggler control again.  Ziggler misses a running splash in the corner and is hit with multiple clotheslines.  Orton misses an RKO and is hit with a dropkick.  Jerry Lawler makes sense of the Barrett in the skybox thing by saying that he is too scared to get close to Orton.  Ziggler uses a neckbreaker and does sit ups over Orton’s body.  Ziggler goes to the top rope, but is knocked off.  The camera oddly pans to Vickie and she starts to scream.  Orton does a superplex off the top.  Cole says “it’s not often you see Orton do that” to which I reply ummmm yes it is.  He does it every match.    Orton uses short arm clotheslines then sets up for his DDT off the ropes.  Ziggler counters it with a sleeper.  Orton gets out and rolls Ziggler up for a near fall.  Ziggler comes back with a Rocker Dropper for another near fall.  Ziggler goes for another sleeper but Orton hangs on to the ropes, which sends Dolph flying to the outside.

Orton follows him out and throws him into the barricade.  Back in the ring he uses the hanging DDT off the ropes.  RKO from Orton.  That’s the match.  Good match after a slow start.  So Ziggler was buried by losing to Punk 4 times last night, and now he jobs to Orton.  If you missed the PPV, Punk had the match won 3 times while the referee was knocked out.  So Punk literally beat Ziggler 4 times.  How is Ziggler’s participation in the Elimination Chamber match supposed to be credible if he’s beginning to lose every match leading up to it?  That’s the problem with pushing midcard guys to the main event before they are ready to be champion.  It’s hard to put them over on the top guys in the company, so eventually they lose out.  It happened to Sheamus last year too before his face turn took place.  They better be careful with Ziggler because he’s too good of a talent to begin to bury.  Dolph Ziggler is trending on Twitter.  See?  I told you people like him.  Vickie Guerrero is also trending.

John Laurinaitis is in the back shaking hands with people.  He asks William Regal how his son has been.  Regal says that he has a combined twin and that he keeps him in the attack.  What????  Really?  Talk about terrible comedic writing.  Did Santino Marella write that awful joke?  On the flip side I now expect to see Regal bring a combined twin to the ring with him in the upcoming months.  If he doesn’t I’ll be dissatisfied.  Then Laurinaitis says hello to Curt Hawkins.  We get it, we get it.  Laurinaitis is sucking up to everyone to save his job from Triple H.  Now that its established you can stop showing him.  Because we don’t really care.  Is it time for Punk vs. Bryan yet?  Nope….it’s Funkasaurus time!

The Funkasaurus Brodus Clay vs. Tyler Reks-  Clay is announced by his dancers once again.  They dance their way down the aisle. Jerry Lawler says that we have a Funkasaurus vs. a T-Rex.  No comment.  That bad one just speaks for itself.  I guess I should just say booooo.  Clay does the leg shake.  Dancing elbow to the head.  Missed clothesline by Clay.  Reks fires back with a dropkick, and punches.  Clay uses a belly to belly suplex.  He slams Reks’ head into the mat.  When he gets back up he’s hit with “What the Funk.”  Brodus Clay wins.   I liked the name Ah Funk It better than What the Funk personally.  Clay and the girls dance.  They all do the leg shake at the same time.  Another 2 minute Brodus Clay match.  They even had a short squash match on the PPV where Clay defeated Drew McIntyre.  That’s the first squash match I’ve ever seen at a PPV.  And I hated it.  It’s a PAY Per View.  Which means one has to pay for it.  A squash match is a waste of money.  I want to see Clay start to wrestle guys who give him a challenge.  The gimmick has been established.  Now it’s time to move on.  Curt Hawkins and William Regal are trending on Twitter.  Also trending #whatthefunk, Tyler Reks, Brodus Clay, and The Funkasaurus.

CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are in the back.  Punk says that they are good friends.  He asks what a vegan is.  Bryan says that eating animals is wrong and talks about them squealing.  Bryan asks what straight edge is.  Punk says that he doesn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs.  Neither does this guy.  Straight edge is the way to be!!  Punk says that Bryan is not a role model.  He says that he’s the best wrestler in the world.

WWE Champion CM Punk vs. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan- Uh oh, it’s only 10 pm.  This match is going to disappoint me.  God I hope not.  HERE WE GO!!!!  Tie up to start.  Chain wrestling.  Yes!  Leap frog and a clothesline by Bryan.  Bryan puts Punk in an Indian leg lock and stomps.  Hard chops by Bryan.  Punk fights back, snapmare, kick to the back, headlock.  Punk digs his fingers into the pressure points in Bryan’s back.  Seriously.  That is awesome.  Bryan rolls through and hits hard knees to the face.  Multiple knee drops to face by Bryan.  Bryan works Punk’s arm around his body while applying pressure to the neck with the knee.  He stomps the arched arm of Punk.  I’m about to cry.  Punk counters an Irish whip and misses a Yakuza kick.  Bryan dumps Punk to the outside, where Bryan follows.  Back and forth European uppercuts by both guys on the outside.  Very stiff.  Amazing.  Bryan throws Punk over the barricade.  Champion vs. Champion is trending on Twitter.

Punk makes it back into the ring.  Bryan uses a headlock, but Punk suplexs him out of it.  Flying clothesline off the top rope by Punk, followed by a side slam.  Quick two count by Punk.  He picks Bryan back up and uses a series of hard chops.  Reversed Irish whip, Bryan goes running, Punk moves, and Bryan wipes out in the corner.  Punk applies a chin lock on the mat.  Punk whips him off the ropes, leap frog, double cross body collision in the middle of the ring.  Commercial break.  Noooooooo!!!!! Of all matches in the history of Raw, why couldn’t they stick with this one.  I’m angry.  My legs are shaking waiting for the return from break.  Cmon cmon cmon cmon cmon cmon.  Have I mentioned that these are the best two wrestlers in the world???

Finally.  Back from commercial break.  We get a during the break video box that shows Bryan drop kicking Punk’s arm.  Bryan stretches Punk’s arm completely out of socket.   Amazing submission.  Beautiful gutwrench suplex by Bryan.  Bryan goes to the rope but is knocked down.  Punk hits a hurricanrana off the top rope.  Another great spot.   Quick single leg dropkick by Punk.  Swinging neck breaker.  Punk is selling the arm like crazy.  Running high knee and bulldog by Punk.  Punk switches to the left arm to hit the bulldog because he is a master of psychology.  Punk attempts Go To Sleep, but Bryan rolls out.  Baseball slide by Bryan.  He goes for a suicide dive but Bryan hits him with a hard forearm from the outside.  Dropkick off the top rope from Bryan.  He uses the multiple hard kicks to the chest.  Punk reverses one into a roll up.  Sunset flip for a near fall by Bryan.   German suplex by Punk but Bryan lands on his feet.  Missed hurricanrana by Punk results in a Bryan Yakuza kick to the head.  Split Daniel Bryan and CM Punk chants from the crowd.

Bryan puts Punk on the rope rope and attempts a superplex.  Punk hits him with elbows and sends him flying to the mat.  Macho Man Randy Savage Flying Elbow Drop by Punk.  Nearfall.  This may be the best match ever on Raw.    Another reversed GTS into a rollup.  Bryan goes for the lebell lock but Punk counters it into a slingshot.  Yakuza kick to the head by Punk.  Chris Jericho comes running down the aisle and pulls Bryan out of the ring.  Byran is disqualified.  Jericho hits the ring and uses the Code Breaker on Punk.  Bryan is announced the winner by DQ.  He screams “yes yes yes” as if he just won the world title all over again.

Here we go.  OH MY GOD.  The match was absolutely amazing.  The greatest “wrestling” match ever on Raw?  Yes.  Argue all you want.  It was the greatest.  Amazing psychology, excellent spots, fast paced, and extremely hard hitting.  I will be watching this match again over and over tonight.  And how about the finish with Jericho?  Awesome.  The only way I would have been happy with a ruined finish would have been a Jericho interruption.  And that’s exactly what they did.  How can you give Jericho even more heatHave him interfere in the best wrestled match in Raw history.  Huge heat for that.  And he finally starts his feud with Punk.  The non physical contact thing is now over as of the Royal Rumble.  The only way that Jericho could have avenged his Rumble loss was to directly attack Punk tonight.  I told people on Twitter last night that he would do that…and he did.  Great writing.  Great match.  Great wrestling.  Great Raw.  I don’t care what happens the rest of the night.  Hopefully the WWE just saw how amazing Punk vs. Bryan truly is and plans to give them a long 6 month feud in the future.  Yes, I said 6 months.  I want to see them wrestle every night for half a year.  It will never get old.  They will never let it get old.  They are both too amazing for that to happen.  For now I’ll just be happy also getting to see Jericho vs. Punk.  That will also be amazing.  But the WWE left plenty to be desired tonight after this match.  Amazing.  Genius.  Epic.  My only complaint?  This match should have ended the show.  Definitely.

It’s time to announce the newest member into the WWE Hall of Fame.  “Iron” Mike Tyson.  A package is shown of his involvement at Wrestlemania 14.  This is already getting major publicity.  Smart move by the WWE.  I’m okay with Tyson going into the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame.  When I think of celebrities in wrestling the first person I think of is Tyson.  Most people won’t be, but I’m all for it.  I know Macho Man, Bob Backlund, and The Rock need to be inducted soon, but this is a different category.

Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz- R-Truth is on commentary.  Miz gets on the mic and talks about Kofi’s handstand spot.  He says “a handstand…really?”  Miz talks about how he lasted longer than anyone did in the Rumble.  Tie up to start the match.  Kofi rolls into a side headlock.  Kofi tries to slide under Miz, but Miz catches him in a full nelson.  Miz stomps and punches away at Kofi in the corner.  R-Truth says something about Miz kicking his dog, so he kicked his cat.  I don’t get it.  Kofi catches Miz with a quick pin for a near fall.  He pushes Kofi into the corner and uses the hanging clothesline through the ropes.  He works Kofi back into the mat with a reach around headlock.  Kofi fights out and uses a sunset flip.  Miz boots him in the face and hits a snap DDT.  Another near fall.  Cole and R-Truth continue to talk about Little Jimmy.  Kingston does the roll through corner dropkick followed by a cross body drop off the top rope.  Cole wants to talk to Little Jimmy and wants to know where he is.  Kofi ducks a Miz kick and hits Trouble in Paradise for the win.  I’m surprised.  It looks like Kingston is once again going to be pushed in the singles division.  But just like Shelton Benjamin he will never really get anywhere.  I’m never happy seeing The Miz job.  Especially after an “awesome” long Royal Rumble appearance.

John Laurinaitis and David Otunga are in the back.  Laurinaitis is paranoid and asks if Otunga is after his job.  Otunga is content with his current position.  So why is Laurinaitis paranoid now?  He’s been confident all night.  I like the idea of his mood changing as his job review gets closer, but something more significant should have happened to change his mindset.  Perhaps a simple shot of Triple H arriving at the building.  That could have gotten him all stirred up.  Can we just skip Laurinaitis’ segment tonight and replay the Punk vs. Bryan match?  Better yet, can they have another?  Please.  I said please.  Lil Jimmy is trending on Twitter as is Kofi Kingston.

A hype video of The Rock airs.  It’s the same one from the Rumble PPV.  They are going to start pushing The Rock vs. Cena hardcore.  After all, this is the road to Wrestlemania.

Diva’s Championship Match- Beth Phoenix (c) vs. Eve Torres- Eve takes out her frustration by viciously attacking Beth.  Then 5 seconds later Beth hits the Glam Slam for the win.  Lawler says it has to be a record for shortest Diva’s Championship match ever.  How stupid.  The wrestling tonight was great, minus the two squash matches.  Where was Kharma?  That’s who everyone wanted to see tonight following her Royal Rumble return.  I think it’s too early to build Kharma vs. Beth Phoenix, but they should have done something with her tonight.

The ring becomes red and Kane is seen on the big screen.  Kane says that Ryder could have been saved if Cena would have embraced the hate.  Kane says that Cena is looking past him and on to The Rock.  He says if Cena doesn’t embrace the hate he can’t beat Kane and can’t beat The Rock.  He says Eve will be made an example of.  The stage explodes and Kane appears behind Eve.  She is crying.  Cena’s music hits.  Here he comes.  Big brawl in the middle of the ring.  The crowd is actually hot for this.  Cena stomps Kane out of the ring.  He slams his head off the barricade, but Kane hits an uppercut.  Cena fights back as they brawl up and down the ramp.  Cena’s head goes off the barricade next.  Kane is thrown into the steel steps.  Then his head is bashed into the steps repeatedly.  Cena takes his shirt off.  He’s serious now.  Cena picks up the steel steps and nails Kane in the side of the head.  Cena smiles.  A second shot to the side of the head.  Cena says “every time you get up I’ll knock you down.”  I love that line actually.  A third shot to the head with the steps.  Cena rips the monitors off the announce table.  He hits Kane across the head with the microphone.  He says “we’re gonna have a party up in here.”  I hate that line actually.  Cena tries to hit the Attitude Adjustment on Kane through the table, but Kane rolls off his shoulders and into the crowd.  Michael Cole tries to put over the difference in attitude by Cena.  Cole can’t remember the last time Cena was this aggressive.  To which I reply, ummmm Cena vs. Orton.  Remember that epic Last Man Standing match?  I’d say he was more intense in that.  Embrace the hate and “Cena and Kane” are trending on Twitter.

John Laurinaitis is walking through the back.  Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox are laughing at him.  Lawler says he might be jobless after tonight.  Jobless?  Only his General Manager job is on the line.  He’s still the Vice President of Talent Relations regardless of what happens.  Which means he’s still everyone’s boss, including Jerry Lawler.  John Cena is trending on Twitter.

John Laurinaitis comes to the ring for his Triple H job review.  The fans sing na na na na hey hey hey goodbye.  That’s probably my least favorite wrestling chant ever.  Right in front of “Puppies!”  Laurinaitis says he’s not nervous because he knows he’s done a good job.  He says the Raw ratings are up from last year.  He talks about a WWE policy where employees are supposed to evaluate themselves on a scale of 1 to 5.  He goes over each category and tells why he gave himself a 5.  Triple H’s music hits.  He comes out in a suit.  I’m already bored.  Sick of Triple H.  Can we please see another Kane segment?  I’d rather see that.  I’d rather see Mark Henry.  I’d rather see the Bastian Booger.  I’d rather see Hardcore Holly.  I’d rather see Scotty Too Hotty.  That’s a little low.  But I am bored.  Triple H and Laurinaitis talk about his job.  Triple H says he’s allowed personal business to get in the way of his judgment.  Laurinaitis says he will do anything to keep his job.  Triple H says that he needs to apologize to the crowd for the job he’s done.  Laurinaitis gives a legit heartfelt apology to the crowd.  Great speech actually.  The crowd is pretty hot while he talks and boos the whole way through.  Triple H says the crowd was too loud for him to hear him.  He says his lips were moving so he was probably lying.  That’s kinda funny.  Triple H is trending on Twitter.

Triple H suggests making a gauntlet match like Laurinaitis did to Punk.  Laurinaitis pleads not to.  Triple H instead wants Laurinaitis to join the Mr. McMahon kiss my ass club.  Laurinaitis puts chap stick on, gets on his knees, and puckers up.  Triple H calls him a freak and asks what is wrong with him.  #Kissmyassclub is trending on Twitter.  Johnny Ace is officially trending on Twitter.  Triple H starts to wish him the best in his future endeavors when the “gong” sound is heard.  The lights go out and The Undertaker’s music hits.  The Undertaker walks down the ramp for the first time since Wrestlemania last April.  Undertaker walks into the ring and stands face to face with Triple H.  The lights remain purple.  Some shots of the two with the Wrestlemania sign are brilliantly shown.  Undertaker does the throat slash taunt to Triple H.  Triple H pats him on the shoulder and walks away.  Undertaker stares off angrily with the Wrestlemania sign over his shoulder as Raw goes off the air.

Excellent Raw.  Greatest match of all time with Bryan vs. Punk.  The Undertaker return was cool to see.  Jericho’s attack was well done.  The wrestling was great tonight.  Can’t wait for next week as the road to Wrestlemania moves on!  The only things I was disappointed in were not seeing Ricardo Rodriguez and not seeing Kharma.  I loved Ricardo’s entrance into the Rumble last night and I really want to see him continue the cheap rip off Alberto Del Rio character.

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