Monday, January 31, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 01/31/11 from Providence, RI.

The Big News: Jerry Lawler will wrestle Miz for the WWE title at Elimination Chamber.

Show Analysis:

Ricardo Rodriguez, some dancers, a mariachi band and balloons celebrated Alberto Del Rio’s Royal Rumble victory. Del Rio said that he told people he would win the Rumble but that nobody listened. Now he would celebrate. He added that he would announce whether he would wrestle for the Raw title or Smackdown title at WrestleMania. At that point he was interrupted by Miz.

Miz congratulated Del Rio. Miz said that he hoped Del Rio would choose to face him at WrestleMania. Miz said that he would remain champion through WrestleMania while Edge would lose his title at Elimination Chamber. Hopefully that doesn’t mean in an Elimination Chamber match. Miz claimed that Edge has been mocking Del Rio behind Del Rio’s back. Del Rio saw this as a ploy and suggested Miz was lying.

Edge came out and said that he doesn’t like or respect Del Rio but that he will say that to Del Rio’s face as opposed to behind his back. Edge said he will beat Del Rio if Del Rio challenges him. Del Rio then announced he would beat the Smackdown champion at WrestleMania. Edge attacked Del Rio in response but Del Rio hit Edge in the shoulder with a guitar and applied his armbar. This was a solid start to the show.

The anonymous GM announced a Raw Rumble with Randy Orton, CM Punk, John Morrison, R. Truth, King Sheamus, Jerry Lawler and John Cena competing for a title shot at the Raw champion for Elimination Chamber. The other six will then wrestle in a Chamber match for the title shot at WrestleMania. I’m so glad they’re doing it this way again. I’ve always felt strongly that putting up the title in a six person Elimination Chamber demeans the whole point of earning the title and it’s the perfect opportunity to have a bunch of challengers go through hell for the shot at the all prestigious belt.

Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov beat Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty. The heels worked over Santino. Kozlov tagged in and hit head butts and clotheslines. Santino then tagged back in and gave Harris the cobra for the win. There was a lot of speculation Nexus would take the tag titles but I think Santino and Kozlov are working great for the time being as tag champions.

After the match, Randy Orton ran out and gave Harris and McGillicutty an RKO. He set up to punt Harris. CM Punk came out and told him not to. Punk threatened there would be serious repercussions. Orton deferred for about 20 minutes before finally punting Harris. Between getting pinned clean and being punted, I hope that isn’t it for Harris.

Ted DiBiase came out and told Jerry Lawler to step aside for the future and give DiBiase his spot in the Raw Rumble. Michael Cole said that Lawler is too selfish to do that. Lawler noted that he has been in WWE 18 years and has never been in a match at WrestleMania. Lawler said his road to WrestleMania would start later in the show. He added that he knows he can beat the Miz and that he would win the Raw Rumble.

DiBiase slapped Lawler and walked away. Lawler went after DiBiase but DiBiase held Maryse in front of himself. Maryse was offended and slapped DiBiase. Lawler then punched DiBiase and teased punching Cole. This was another really good segment. It’s nice to see them utilizing Lawler’s talents in such a major way.

They aired a vignette twice that involved a scary looking man walking into an old house. It gave the date February 21, which is the day after Elimination Chamber. One would assume that’s a tease for either the return of the Undertaker, the debut of Sting, or the introduction of a new character.

Daniel Bryan beat Tyson Kidd with the LeBell lock. The match was just a very brief backdrop for the Bellas acting as heels and badmouthing Bryan and Gail Kim on commentary. The story is they had a bet about who would sleep with Bryan first. After the match the Bellas and Gail Kim brawled. It felt like they gave the brawl about as much time as the match, sadly.

Edge beat Miz in a match with a predictable distraction finish. They announced there had to be a winner. Miz worked over Edge’s shoulder and arm. John Cena distracted Miz with a microphone in the crowd and Edge hit a spear for the pin. If you want to look at the top reasons why match results don’t matter, titles don’t matter and PPVs don’t draw, these incessant distraction finishes are very high on the list.

Vickie Guerrero announced a new type of title defense for Edge on Friday. It will be a three on two match with Lay Cool and Dolph Ziggler vs. Edge and Kelly Kelly with Edge’s title on the line. So if Michelle McCool pins Kelly Kelly, Dolph Ziggler is the new champion. That’s about the dumbest development in TNA in recent years and WWE stole the concept. Maybe next week they can put the titles in boxes on polls.

Lay Cool beat Eve and Natalya. Layla hit diamond dust on Eve for the win. They showed Lay Cool arguing backstage earlier in the day. In the end, they blamed the referee for their struggles and hugged.

Usos were supposed to wrestle Mark Henry and Great Khali. However, the GM said that the Usos didn’t stand a chance in the match so this would be a dance off. The two teams danced. The Usos then attacked and were laid out by the faces. This was an idiotic waste of time that wasn’t entertaining and only served to bury the Usos for no positive reason.

Jerry Lawler won the Raw Rumble. John Morrison, King Sheamus, John Cena, CM Punk and R. Truth were the first five wrestlers out. Truth threw Morrison out but Morrison skinned the cat and pulled Truth out. Truth and Morrison then both tried to skin the cat but Truth botched the spot. Lawler was out next and went to town with punches for everyone. Orton was the last man out and Punk hid under the ring. Orton pulled him out and went after him.

Orton clotheslined out Punk but Truth immediately dumped Orton from behind. Cena tried to throw out Truth and Morrison together. Truth went out but Morrison avoided elimination and pulled Cena out onto the apron. Sheamus charged and also went over onto the apron. It looked like a setup for Lawler to take out all three together but they all got back in. They did a phony looking spot where Morrison scooted himself off the apron so he could do the visual of catching himself by his feet on the bottom rope. Then he did a spot where he landed with his hands on the floor and pushed himself back in. At this point, it came across as Morrison showing off in a fake match as opposed to achieving impressive feats in a believable athletic simulation.

Cena put Sheamus in the STF. Morrison went for starship pain on them but it mostly missed. Sheamus eliminated Morrison with the Brogue kick. Cena was on the apron and Sheamus threw Lawler into Cena to eliminate Cena. Sheamus then went for the Brogue kick on Lawler but Lawler ducked and Cena pulled down the top rope. Sheamus flew over and Lawler won. Cena raised Lawler’s hand while Cole repeatedly screamed at Lawler.

Final Thoughts:

This was a real sink or swim edition of Raw. The first hour was strong. The next 40 minutes were terrible. And the final match was great. I really like what they’re doing with Jerry Lawler and given how compelling it is I hope they have a plan to keep him involved in a major way through WrestleMania. Maybe he can wrestle Alex Riley or Michael Cole at WrestleMania with the winner getting to ref the likely Miz-Cena title bout. Regardless, he has been so great in recent months that they should find a way to make his involvement at Mania a crescendo rather than an anticlimax.


Anonymous Bob said...

I thought the John Morrison spots were fun. As for being phony, I'd rather have phony athletic-based spots than phony idiocy like Husky Harris having to lie there like a fool forever while the Orton/Punk skit played out.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Ryan Rosenthal said...

I agree with Bob entirely.

While the Morrison spots in the "Raw Rumble" were overtly planned out and unbelievable, I'll still happily take them over the Harris spot where he stayed on all 4s next to the bottom rope for seemingly 5 minutes while Orton went through a myriad of emotions, while Harris stayed frozen in time, awaiting his imminent demise.

Also, what happened to the Cena/Punk feud? It was built nicely, Punk and Cena had a good match on Raw with an inconclusive finish and then we jump straight to Orton/Punk? What gives?

And WHY exactly did Punk attack Orton at the Rumble anyway? One would have figured they would have bothered to explain that in some form or fashion. I mean, I have my own reasonable ideas, such as Punk thinking he would have won the rumble and therefore wanted the easiest person to fight at Mania (Miz) and therefore helped ensure that he would win.


Back in 2008 (I know, I know...stupid me for having a memory) Randy Orton ended CM Punk's first title reign by punting him in the head at the first scramble match, where Jericho went on to take Punk's place and win the title. So, this could have been Punk's revenge by costing Orton the title since he owed him one.

Of course, the WWE answer will likely be: Punk is a heel who does heelish things and Orton is a face so he gets attacked by heels. Now shut up and watch Mark Henry and the Uso brothers dance.

~Ryan Rosenthal

1:48 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Nice to know there are others who remember how to employ continuity, something the writers, it seems, aren't allowed to do.

That means the burning question for Monday is whether or not they want to reference something that happened nearly 2 1/2 years ago, or continue to ignore it, and have Punk make a new excuse.

I'm sick of the stalling on the reveal of the GM. Can we get this done----finally---before Wrestlemania? Please? I'd rather see Cole be the next one punted....

9:35 AM  

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