The show begins with the introduction of WWE legend Mick Foley. Mick immediately goes for the cheap pop “right here in Anaheim, California.” He talks about his bad segments lately, including him being Santa Claus and doing “Cena this is your life.” Foley brings up that he once headlined Wrestlemania in the exact building they are in. He says two of his sons were there. He says his other two sons were too young to see him wrestle in a WWE ring, which is why he is officially announcing his entry into the Royal Rumble match. Well that’s a cool idea. I’m for it. Vickie Guerrero comes out with Dolph Ziggler shouting “excuse me.” Ziggler says there are thirty precious spots into the Royal Rumble and that Foley is snubbing aside a superstar who deserves it. Dolph says that he’s watched Foley do stand up comedy and that he understands if this is one of his bits. Then Ziggler does an imitation of Foley’s kids where he say’s “yay look at daddy in the Royal Rumble….oh no he’s over the top rope. Well now it’s back off to school so we can get beat up, I hope dad didn’t eat our lunches again.” Good stuff.
It’s time for me to comment for the 40th consecutive week that I love Ziggler’s mic skills and that he is the most improved superstar over the last year. And I’ll say it 40 more weeks, because he deserves it. Mick Foley is officially trending worldwide on Twitter. Ziggler tells Foley that it’s all over and that he needs to go away. CM Punk’s music hits and he makes his way down the aisle. Let’s hope that we get to see Punk more than just one time this week. Because the champion should be featured more than one time. But instead we will probably have to sit through 14 terrible B-movie Kane segments. CM Punk steals Foley’s cheap pop line. Ziggler says Punk and Foley both get their clothes from the same homeless man. Boooooo. I boo bad jokes.
Should I go back and delete my Ziggler praise? Nah, I’ll let that one pass. Punk say’s Dolph hides behind a woman. Then he makes fun of Dolph and Laurinaitis. Punk says that after he beats Ziggler at Royal Rumble it would be damn cool to face Foley at Wrestlemania. Vickie starts to shout, but Punk cuts her off, and then Laurinaitis comes out to cut him off. I have no idea what any of them were saying. Laurinaitis says he will be a fair special guest referee in the Punk vs. Ziggler match. Then he tells Foley that no, he cannot be in the Royal Rumble. Vickie laughs in Foley’s face. That ends the segment. Mediocre segment that really didn’t progress the Punk vs. Ziggler feud any. At least it started a Foley storyline. I’m assuming that Mick will be forced to win a match or two to get into the Rumble.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match- Epico and Primo w/ Rosa Mendes vs. Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourn- We first see exclusive footage from a house show where Epico and Primo became the new WWE Tag Team Champions. This is a great concept. It’s been a long time since a title change has happened on a non-televised house show. I think it’s a bit early to make these guys the tag champs but regardless I like the title change. Let’s hope Kofi and Bourn split soon. I feel that their whole reign as tag champions was a disaster. Evan Bourn is a great heel. Please turn him. Epico and Bourn start the match. Bourn rolls down his back for a near fall, followed by a flying head scissors. In comes Primo. Bourn hits a springboard cross body, but is caught by both guys and overhead slammed. More quick tags from the tag champs as they double team Bourn. Evan hits the spot of the night by leaping to the top rope and using a hurricanrana on Epico that throws him into Primo. Very sweet spot. Kofi Kingston is tagged in. He hits some clotheslines, and then the Boom Drop. Trouble in Paradise on Epico. He tags Evan Bourn who goes to the top rope. Primo pops up from the outside and takes out Kofi. Evan is distracted by this as Epico knocks him off the ropes. Backstabber to Bourn as Epico picks up the win. The new champs have retained their titles.
In the back John Laurinaitis is talking to David Otunga. Somebody walks up but it doesn’t show who. Laurinaitis says the main event is Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, and David Otunga vs. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and you. The camera pans as Chris Jericho is seen. He doesn’t say anything and just smiles. Then he turns off the lights and poses with his light-up jacket. First of all will somebody pinch me? Punk, Bryan, and Jericho teaming up? The best three wrestlers in the company? Three of my favorite wrestlers of all time? Plus two of them, Bryan and Jericho, are amidst a heel turn? What else can you ask for. And it’s Jericho’s first match in over a year and a half. A total dick move by the way from Jericho. He flipped off the lights to show off his jacket! Hilarious. Who does that? What a jerk/genius. Primo & Epico and Airboom are both trending on Twitter.
In the back we see Zack Ryder standing with Eve. Ryder has his ribs taped up. Eve says there is no way Ryder can defend his championship tonight. Ryder says he’s going to the ring and won’t forfeit his title. Eve says she’s going with him. Following this we get a video package showing Kane and Zack Ryder over the last few weeks. Why did they have to remind me? “The tire’s flat, the tire’s flat!!!” Riveting television.
United States Championship- Zack Ryder w/ Eve Torres vs. Jack Swagger w/ Vickie Guerrero- Swagger immediately targets Ryder’s injured back. He clubs him in the side and then uses a side slam. The crowd chants “let’s go Ryder woo woo woo.” Swagger charges Ryder in the corner, but gets knees to the face. Ryder jumps off the rope, but is caught in a back breaker. Swagger does the Swagger-bomb to Ryder’s back. Gutwrench powerbomb for a near fall. Then Swagger uses a second gutwrench powerbomb for a second near fall. Swagger continues to drop elbows across Ryder’s back. He hits a third gutwrench powerbomb for the win. Jack Swagger is the new United States Champion. I know a lot of people are extremely angry right now. And a lot of people will be shocked when I say this….but I’m okay with this. The whole fun of Zack Ryder was his chase towards the title. It was fun back when Ryder wasn’t being used correctly and was barely on tv. It was fun to root to see him every week and then be shocked when he actually showed up on Raw. It was fun to watch him try to get a US title match. I was frustrated many weeks waiting for Ryder to get his chance. But frustration is good. It’s a great reaction to get from a fan. That shows that the writers are doing their jobs and were really picking up heat against Ryder. The chase was great. When Ryder finally got his title shot everyone was excited. I was there in Baltimore when Ryder won the US Championship and the entire crowd went crazy. From there it was cool to see him defend it for a little bit. But then came the terrible Kane storyline that absolutely destroyed his title reign. Now Ryder has been “screwed” out of the title by being forced to fight injured. So the chase begins again. Now they can move him away from Kane and restart his journey that should lead him to Wrestlemania. It will make Ryder fresh again. It’s going to be exciting to see him again. And it really isn’t his fault that he was caught in an awful storyline over the last month. I can’t wait for the next championship chase. How come they decided to change two championships this week by the way? And they didn’t even wait until the pay-per-view to do it. That’s odd.
After commercial we see Ryder in the back with the doctors. Laurinaitis comes in and says he just got the doctor’s report that says Ryder wasn’t cleared to wrestle. Eve blows up on Laurinaitis and he tells her to shut her mouth.
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton comes out to be the special guest ring announcer. He is booed by the crowd pretty loudly. He introduces Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox. Then he announces The Bella Twins. They plug Hilton’s blog, where apparently the diva’s do a special article each week. I can’t wait to not read it.
Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox vs. The Bella Twins- Nikki Bella slams Kelly Kelly and tosses her into the corner. She stomps, then charges and misses. Kelly hits a bulldog. The Bella’s do the switch as Brie takes Nikki’s spot. Perez Hilton grabs Brie’s legs and pulls her out of the ring. Kelly uses a roll-up on Nikki for the win. The Bella’s push Perez. He throws up fisticuffs. The Bella’s shove him down into the mat. Kelly Kelly and Alicia take up for him and the Bella’s flee. Yaaaaaawwwwwwnnnnnnnn. Why didn’t Alicia Fox get to do a single move. She is miles and miles better than Miss fake-hair-weave Kelly Kelly. What a waste of time. Perez Hilton is trending on Twitter.
1992 Royal Rumble flash back. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair wins it. So weird to see them putting over a guy that is signed by TNA and works for the competition. He goes into the Hall of Fame for the second time in April. Yes, the second time. He already went in by himself, and now his group The 4 Horsemen are being inducted.
R-Truth comes down to the ring. He picks up the mic, but before he can speak Wade Barrett’s music plays. He says “pardon the interruption R-Truth, if that is your real name.” Ha! British humor! Gotta love it. Barrett says that he will win the Royal Rumble. He says the old “git” Mick Foley won’t. What is a git? He say’s R-Truth should be in a straight jacket. R-Truth says “Ello Govanah” and says that Barrett talks funny. Truth says that they are close to Disney Land and that he went there this morning. He shows a slide show on the big screen. He is standing with Mickey and Minnie. Then he shows a picture beside Donald Duck. Next there is a pic of him with Pinocchio. Pinocchio said that Barrett would win the Royal Rumble. Then his nose grew. Truth says he’s not sure if that’s even PG. The Miz attacks R-Truth from behind. Miz and Barrett double team Truth. Sheamus’ music hits as he runs in for the save. Every time we get a terrible run in storyline that ends in a match we always get Teddy Long. Hence Teddy Long’s music hitting. Teddy makes a four man over the top rope challenge. The Bella’s are officially trending on Twitter.
Over the top rope challenge- R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Sheamus- Lot’s of brawling with Miz vs. Truth and Sheamus vs. Barrett. There’s some punching. There’s some kicking. There’s some stomping. Typical battle royal. Wade Barrett is thrown over the top rope by all 3 guys at once. Jerry Lawler comments on Michael Cole never participating in a Royal Rumble, which just gave it away to me that Cole would be in this year’s Rumble. Bank on it. It will be like those times that Jonathan Coachman entered the Rumble. I bet it will be a surprise, but Cole will be in it this year. Mark my words. Sheamus uses his over the rope chest pounds on The Miz. He beats his chest and yells “Brogue.” Nah, he doesn’t need to do that. It sounds stupid. Sheamus misses a Brogue Kick and lands on the ropes. Miz tries to dump him over, but Sheamus fights him off. R-Truth runs over to the ropes and dumps both guys to the floor. R-Truth is the winner. He celebrates, dances, and does a split. On the outside Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick on The Miz. Sheamus will win the 2012 Royal Rumble by the way. Also bank on that. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus at Wrestlemania. Bryan is excellent against larger men with a European style. Go watch his Ring of Honor matches vs. Nigel Mcguinness. They are amazing.
In the back John Cena comes barging into Laurinaitis’ office angry. He says he screwed Ryder out of the title. Laurinaitis says to put his concern on Kane because he will face him at Royal Rumble. He also says that Cena will face the new United States Champion Jack Swagger next. During commercial I literally see the 3rd different commercial with Hulk Hogan in it. You’d think TNA would be doing better in the ratings with all these free Hogan and Flair promotions. I guess their ratings are bad because their shows are terrible. They have good wrestlers but they have the worst writing team on the planet. I see better scripted material on Jersey Shore.
John Cena vs. United States Champion Jack Swagger- Cena runs straight to the ring and attacks Swagger. Lot’s of punches, splash in the corner, hard clothesline. Swagger is tossed to the outside, into the turnbuckle, and off the announce table. He hits a stiff knee to Swagger’s face, pushes his hand up against his face, and hits hard kicks to the back. This might be a little example of what Cena the heel would be like. He throws Swagger into the steel steps. Then he separates the steps and bounces Swagger’s head off the base multiple times. Cena lays Swagger’s head against the steps and picks up the top as if he is going to smash Swagger’s head. Before he can do it we get an explosion. Kane is on the big screen and tells Cena that he will continue to embrace the hate. Then another explosion. It looks like Kane is forcing Cena to be more aggressive. I still believe that this is all a heel turn tease. Cena is not going to turn heel. But they are going to push it and tease it as if he will. In the end it will make those who hate him, hate him even more. Which in turn makes him a stronger heel to only those he needs to be a heel to. He will still be a super baby face to the women and children, because that’s his character. It doesn’t make sense for him to turn on the entire “WWE Universe.” Hopefully that’s all we have to see of Kane tonight. John Cena and Jack Swagger are officially trending on Twitter.
Here comes the Funkasaurus Brodus Clay. Somebody call his mama! His dancers announce him tonight. Apparently he is the only living and breathing Funkasaurus on the planet. I was not aware of that. That is fascinating. He dances his way down to the ring in a red jumpsuit. They cut to his opponent JTG, who is magically a heel tonight. JTG is doing the Kenny Powers sarcastic psssh laugh. Probably not purposefully.
The Funkasaurus Brodus Clay vs. JTG- Clay dances into a tie up. Once in the tie up he runs his hands up and down JTG’s body. JTG grabs his legs but he starts to shake. Clay points to the crowd, JTG looks, and Clay punches him in the side of the head. Running headbutt by Clay. Clay uses an overhead slam. He yells “my bad.” The crowd yells “my bad.” That’s called being over. Then he uses his finisher called “Ah Funk It.” It’s the running crossbody combo from last week. That’s the match. Clay wins. Clay and the dancers celebrate by dancing.
Flashback from Smackdown. So Daniel Bryan used his girlfriend AJ to get in the way of the Big Show to get his match called off. The 500 pound Big Show collided with the 95 pound AJ. The storyline is that Daniel Bryan acts as if The Big Show did it on purpose. The crowd is smart enough to understand his sarcasm and boos Bryan when he comes out. I love it. Bryan is a great heel. He cuts a promo talking about how it was The Big Show’s fault and how Big Show shouldn’t show his face on Smackdown again. He talks about his World Championship match on Smackdown this week against Mark Henry. He dedicates his match to AJ. I love how they are going to put Bryan over on both Big Show and Mark Henry. There is no better way to make his title reign legit than to have him survive two giants. After he makes his way to the ring the lights go off. A blue light up jacket is seen at the top of the ramp. Jericho makes his way down the ramp screaming. He grabs a-hold of the camera once again. He circles the outside and celebrates with more fans. As we go to commercial he grabs a fan’s digital camera and takes a picture of the fan with his girlfriend. Absolutely hilarious. I seriously laughed out loud. Again, who does that? Genius. That’s the only adjective I can think of to describe Jericho. Genius. #somebodycallmymama is trending on Twitter. That is also funny. Wrestling is funny. People who don’t watch it need to…because it’s funny. Much funnier than all those terrible network sitcoms that air every week. Chris Jericho or Two and a Half Men? I’ll take Chris Jericho any day of the week. CM Punk or 30 Rock? Don’t even get me started. When we come back from commercial everyone is already in the ring, but Chris Jericho is still running around the ring. Lawler and Cole said that he already made at least 4 trips around the ring! That gets a big “lol.” Jericho or Mike and Molly? Are you kidding me?
Chris Jericho, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, and David Otunga w/ Vickie Guerrero- CM Punk starts the match with Dolph Ziggler. They chain wrestle before Punk hits a scoop slam and stomps Ziggler’s head. Punk hits a hard chop and vertical suplex. Daniel Bryan is tagged in. Immediate uppercuts from Bryan. Bryan tries to leapfrog Ziggler, but he trips and hits the mat. Ziggler smartly attacks the leg that Bryan tripped with. That makes me seriously wonder if Bryan was supposed to trip. Which means that these brilliant wrestlers did a great job covering that spot. Daniel Bryan is officially the #1 trend worldwide on Twitter. Otunga and Ziggler continue to work Bryan’s leg. Half crab by Ziggler, but Bryan makes it to the ropes. Ziggler misses a splash in the corner which helps Bryan dive to CM Punk. Otunga is also tagged in. The fans chant “you can’t wrestle” at Otunga while Punk works a chin lock on him. Otunga counters an Irish Whip with a kick to the face, and he tags Ziggler in for the third time. Ziggler uses an impressive neck breaker on Punk, then taunts the crowd. Side headlock by Ziggler, countered into a CM Punk back breaker. Jericho jumps up and down on the apron and the crowd goes crazy. Punk does not make it to Jericho as Otunga cuts him off. Otunga goes for a superplex, but Punk knocks him off with headbutts. Diving Macho Man elbow drop. Hot tag to Jericho. The crowd goes crazy. Jericho jumps up and down and points to each side of the ring. The crowd cheers every time Jericho points to them. The crowd is literally louder than they have been all night. Just as Otunga makes his way to his feet, Jericho tags Daniel Bryan. The crowd starts to boo loudly. Jericho jumps off the apron and walks to the back. I literally laughed my ass off. That is by far the funniest thing I’ve ever seen inside a wrestling ring. I saw it coming too, which made it even better. Again, Jericho got the crowd all riled up, and gave them nothing in return. He continues to suck the life out of the crowd with no payoff. Jericho walks to the back still excited saying “yea!” Back from commercial Bryan hits a hot tag to Punk. Punk comes in with clotheslines, a swinging neck breaker, high knee in the corner, and a running bulldog. Springboard clothesline by Punk. Then comes Mark Henry to mess everything up. He takes out Punk then picks up Bryan. Bryan gets out of the World’s Strongest Slam and punches Henry in the face. Bryan hobbles to the outside as Henry follows him. Mark tosses Bryan across the ramp and to the back. Mick Foley’s music hits. Foley runs down the ramp and grabs the tag rope. Punk can’t quite make it to Foley and is caught with a Fame Asser by Ziggler. Near fall. #JeriTroll is trending on Twitter again. Two swinging neck breakers by Ziggler for another near fall. Punk hits an enzuguri and makes the hot tag to Foley. Foley pounds away on Otunga in the corner and yells “bang bang.” The crowd is on fire. Foley with the running knee in the corner followed by the double-arm DDT. Foley pulls out Mr. Socko and uses the Mandable Claw on Otunga. Otunga passes out as the match ends. CM Punk and Mick Foley win the match. John Laurinaitis comes down the aisle and says he never told Foley he could be in the match. Laurinaitis overturns the decision and announces the heels as the winners. Punk grabs the mic from him. He says Laurinaitis will do nothing about him grabbing things from him. He tells Laurinaitis to shut up, man up, and take his balls out of his purse. He tells Laurinaitis that it killed him to watch his brother Road Warrior Animal be in a successful tag team while he did nothing with his career. Punk says that he’s accomplished more in the last year than Laurinaitis has in his entire life. (The screen goes black. Either something happened with my cable company, or Punk said something that had to be completely censored.) Punk continues to rant on Laurinaitis, jukes him out, and calls him pathetic. A lot of emotion there from Punk. Very good promo. Foley is still in the ring and is giving thumbs up to Laurinaitis. John grabs the mic and introduces himself to the crowd. He says he is not pathetic and will not be intimidated. Foley says that Laurinaitis needs to admit that he plans to screw Punk at the Royal Rumble and that he is a kiss ass. Laurinaitis asks Foley who the hell he thinks he is. He says that he will screw Punk at the Rumble. He says he’s sick and tired of being bullied. He goes on a rant saying he won’t take it anymore. Laurinaitis suddenly nails Foley across the head with the microphone and walks out of the ring. Foley stumbles to his feet as we go off the air. Raw dominated Twitter as it went off the air. #JeriTroll, Mr. Socko, CM Punk, Johnny Ace (Laurinaitis’ backstage nickname), and Mick Foley are all trending.
I thought Raw was extremely good tonight. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. The progression of the Chris Jericho storyline was epic. The emotion shown by Punk and Laurinaitis was incredible. The heat to Daniel Bryan was great. The hurricanrana spot by Evan Bourn was amazing. Cena’s aggression was awesome. The Foley match build and nostalgia were very smart. The sudden US Title Change made so much sense and leaves me anticipating. Overall, great job. I was highly entertained tonight. Hopefully this is a prelude to how great every Road to Wrestlemania Raw will be over the next few months. I can’t wait for next week. As Zack Ryder would say “Follow me on Twitter.” Spread my articles, leave comments, and ask me questions. Thanks for reading. I’ve been receiving some amazing feedback.
Follow Mark Brown on Twitter @FantasyGodmb.