Monday, January 02, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 01/02/11 from Memphis, TN.

The Big News: Chris Jericho is back and he is in a jovial mood.

Show Analysis:

The show started with John Cena. He wished the fans a happy new year. They chanted “you suck” back. He smiled. Cena said he’s going to make some changes in 2012, but it was just stupid comedy. He did say he would slap the Rock’s face and show he has lost his lady parts. Cena said he will remain who he is and keep his convictions true. He added that people pay their money and earn the right to say what they want.

Cena said that Kane wants him to turn his back on the people but he won’t. He said that there is no better feeling than being in the ring in front of all the fans. The fans booed. Cena said he will continue to enjoy any emotional response he gets, so feel free to scream in his face and give him the finger if you see him in the airport. Kane’s voice then appeared, saying that Cena can try to hold off the inevitable but he will come to embrace hate. This was among Cena’s all-time most annoying promos. It mixed in all the worst elements of Cena’s character: dumb comedy, disingenuous pandering and clichéd sentimentality.

Daniel Bryan beat Cody Rhodes. Bryan hit a knee off the apron onto the floor. Rhodes came back with a springboard kick. Bryan then used a small package out of nowhere for the pin. This was good while it lasted. Bryan then did a weird over-the-top celebration after the match. I’m not sure where they are going with Bryan and Big Show but it is intriguing,

John Laurinaitis told Miz that what R. Truth did to Miz was unprofessional. Miz was outraged Laurinaitis wasn’t taking action against Truth. Laurinaitis pointed out Miz attacked Truth first and told Miz he would be wrestling Sheamus on Raw. Miz stormed off muttering that he would be a sitting duck. Truth walked into the frame and quacked.

Wade Barrett came to the ring. Barrett said he doesn’t care about people having a good new year but it has been a fantastic 2012 for him, devoid of Randy Orton. Barrett said he didn’t plan to throw Orton down the stairs but it was either Orton or him. Barrett said he is looking forward to winning the Royal Rumble and main eventing WrestleMania.

Wade Barrett beat Santino Marella. Santino interrupted Barrett’s promo and said he would run over Barrett. Barrett hit him with a kick to the head, punches, superkick and Bossman slam for the pin.

The Bellas were bickering backstage. Miz asked if they had seen Truth. They said no but that they had seen little Jimmy. They were really pushing the Little Jimmy thing throughout the show. Miz then stalked around paranoid about Truth. Truth walked out when Miz left.

A match between Sheamus and Miz didn’t really take place. Sheamus repeatedly hit Miz until Miz ran away through the crowd. Truth appeared right where Miz happened to walk. Truth did some comedy. Miz went back inside the barricade and was hit with a Brogue kick on the floor. Truth then hit Miz with a water bottle again and did some more comedy with a kid. They’re booking Miz as if he is leaving the company and they need to bury him on the way out.

Dolph Ziggler said that we are a debt society and he has a surplus of everything except the WWE title. Elsewhere, Zack Ryder was coming onto Eve Torres. She basically blew him off. Jack Swagger came in and said an impostor is wearing the US title. Ryder was oblivious as to what he meant. Ryder said that even though they both have names that end with “er”, he’ll still send Swagger to the ER. That was written to be a lame joke and Torres sold it as such. They argued and Laurinaitis announced they would participate in a six man elimination match.

Dolph Ziggler beat CM Punk via count out. Punk did well at first but then Ziggler took over. Punk hit a powerslam for two. Ziggler hit a famouser for two. Punk pulled the turnbuckle off the top rope (it was supposed to look accidental but didn’t in the slightest). Punk hit a high knee and bulldog. Laurinaitis came out to make sure the referee put the turnbuckle back on. Punk went for the GTS but Ziggler escaped. Punk then applied the anaconda vise and Ziggler tapped. The referee wasn’t paying attention but Punk released the hold anyway. I’m not sure why they did that given it undermined Ziggler as a challenger and made Punk look like an idiot with no positive consequences.

Ziggler charged Punk but ran into Laurinaitis. Punk went for the GTS but Ziggler got out and pushed Punk towards Laurinaitis. Punk tumbled over the top rope and they told the story that Laurinaitis pulled down the top rope. For some reason this killed Punk and he was counted out. This whole scenario was completely overbooked. Ziggler celebrated with the title after the match.

The Bellas beat Kelly and Eve Torres. Kelly used a stinkface and a jaw breaker. Torres hit a clothesline, dropkick and moonsault. The other Bella broke up the pin attempt. Kelly distracted the referee so they could do the twin switch and the other Bella used one of the worst cradles ever for the pin.

Punk confronted Laurinaitis backstage for almost costing him the title. Laurinaitis said that Punk’s problem is with Ziggler, who has defeated Punk twice. He announced Ziggler will receive a title shot at the Royal Rumble with Laurinaitis as special guest referee. Punk vowed to beat up Laurinaitis if Laurinaitis screws him.

They played one last vignette with the boy and the girl. The camera shook. The lights went out. The crowd chanted Y2J. Chris Jericho then appeared in an intentionally preposterous sparkly vest. He was smiling broadly and happy. He teased he was going to say something but instead just milked the crowd reaction forever to comedic effect. He literally just kept encouraging people to cheer for around 10 minutes. He kept teasing he would speak but then went back to encouraging cheers again. He ran around the ring slapping hands and played with the camera. Finally, as he started to leave, some people started booing. The crowd took longer to turn on him than expected, probably because they were so happy to see him.

This was a great segment. It was entertaining and funny, while setting the stage well for him to play a full of himself heel again. It looks like he’ll be more like his 1998 heel character than his 2008 heel character but there is still plenty of time for the character to be laid out. It also seems like Jericho has taken some inspiration from what’s so unbearable about Cena’s character.

John Cena, Zack Ryder and Big Show beat Mark Henry and Jack Swagger. Kane was supposed to be on the heel team but in a weird deal they announced he wasn’t participating and just did a handicap match with the faces having an advantage. Henry tried to hit Show with a chair. Show knocked the chair out of his hand and hit him with the chair. It was announced both Henry and Show were eliminated.

Ryder hit the kick to the face and went for the Rough Ryder on Swagger but Swagger countered into the ankle lock. Ryder struggled and got the tag to Cena. Cena came in with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam, five knuckle and FU for the win. After the match, Kane came out from under the ring. He suffocated Cena and went to drag Ryder under the ring to do something terrible. Cena pulled Ryder out and fire came out of the hole. That was a goofy conclusion to the show.

Final Thoughts:

This show was largely not very good. There are way too many goofy, annoying comedic faces and way too little seriousness. The overall atmosphere is just not conducive to getting people invested in the product. On the plus side, I did like Chris Jericho’s return.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

EGM3 says:

New chant: "Kane is Lame!"

Don't know if anyone has pointed this out but that suffocating move Kane is using, shutting off the mouth and nostrils, is called "burking." Supposedly it's the method Burke & Hare used to obtain undamaged corpses to sell to medical schools.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EGM3 adds:

You can see an example of burking in the Boris Karloff movie "The Body Snatcher."

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Meadowlark Lemon said...

It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what Jericho was doing, as it didn't make a lick of sense at first, but then as he kept milking the crowd I started to catch on. While I definitely think he was parodying the likes of Cena, et al, I also think he was mocking his previous characters, which does include a real stint as a game show host. It is always good to see him, and if he works with Punk, that should be some good stuff. I was amused to hear Lawler talk about how the crowd was 'stunned' to see him as the camera was focusing on all of the Y2J signs in the audience.
The rest of the show was, mostly, crap. The funny thing is that, as much as Jericho is being a parody of the cloying face, it is becoming more obvious that's a role that Cena should be playing. He really is unbearable, and I've no idea what angle they are trying to do with him by playing up all of the crowd's animosity. This dud with Kane will do nobody any favors, as the matches will be dire, and nobody cares about Kane, and hasn't for years. The ending with the 'hellfire' was corny as all get out, particularly in the way that Ryder and Cena sold it.
The sooner this Punk/Ace spat is buried ten feet under the better. I realize it's a lame attempt at a Stone Cold/VKM type feud, but, in case nobody has noticed, Punk is no Austin, and Ace is no Vince. It has zero steam behind it. They'd be a lot better off setting Ziggler up as a real threat for Punk, instead of an afterthought. I can't stress how irritating that Punk has become as a character since he came back. In many ways, he's come off even more smug than Cena, and that's saying something.
Does anybody care about Miz or Truth? I mean anybody? I can't think of a way they could book Miz worse, except maybe make him run around in a halter top and heels.
I'm becoming more and more convinced that the brilliant Cranky Vince twitter feed really is Vince McMahon.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Meadowlark Lemon said...

I didn't know about 'burking', but I did mean to mention that Kane's wig is truly comical. I get bringing the mask back, I guess, but why this stupid weave? He looks like a drag queen trying out for the local dinner theater version of 'Phantom of the Opera.'

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I think you downplayed just how awful the final angle was on the show. Ryder fled for his life like a coward and the crowd even laughed at him. Then he gets dragged under the ring, but Cena saves him like we're suddenly watching some terrible movie, and they huddle in the corner together as Cena asks Ryder if he's alright. It was the silliest thing on Raw in a long time.

The Jericho segment was amazing. I was disappointed when it seemed like he was returning as a babyface, but he managed to come up with something new again. Very interested to see where it goes next.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Ste said...

That Chris Jericho return was one of the greatest things I've ever seen in WWE. And that's not a slight on WWE, that's just massive praise. Jericho is amazing.

This Raw had the potential to be great, with Ziggler vs Punk, and Danielson vs Rhodes. Both matches failed to live up to my lofty expectations, sadly.

Ziggler, Rhodes and Barrett are probably the 3 best villains in WWE at the moment, and it's nice to see them getting the spotlight put on them in such a positive way.

I noticed that they cut back on the Twitter shit a hell of a lot. And Cole was far less grating than usual.

But my god, Punk's character is abysmal. His "bitch" joke was far, far worse than any of Cena's in his opening segment. And I actually laughed at Ryder's "ER" joke. What are your thought on the "best in the world" character, Todd?

I like them doing a storyline around the Cena love/hate the crowd has for him. But the execution so far has been absolutely woeful.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Efrain said...

I actually thought the Jericho thing was a little dragged. At first it was like, "Awesome, he's back, he's feeding the crowd, woohoo!" But after a while it just got to the point where I kept muttering, "Okay, I get it, get on with the heel turn."

I want to cry for CM Punk. They have treated him like absolute shit over the past few months. This needs to change now.

On more positive notes, I am interested to see where Show/Danielson go, and I'm very impressed with Ziggler; he got a lot more heat than in the past. I also had to LOL at the "Vickie's sexy" chants going on during the match, although Ziggler does need to lose her.

The rest of the show... You all know by now. It's bad. -_-

4:00 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Dolph Ziggler has no credibility as a title contender because of the storyline. One glaring fact about Ziggler, ever since he was paired with Vickie Guerrero as a mouthpiece, is that they have booked him as a coward who needs help to win the big ones. When he was a solo act, he had all the tools. Someone decided to put Vickie with him, and to heck with the consequences. Well, they better understand the consequences.

Last year, Vickie schemed to overthrow Teddy Long as GM of Smackdown for the 2nd time. When the heat got too much, she stooged off Ziggler, who was not allowed to counter and admit that it was really Vickie's idea. Vickie has been leeching heat off Ziggler and onto herself from the go, and that needs to stop. I can't see Ziggler winning at the Rumble, because, as usual, the evil GM's plans have been overplayed already, and Laurinaitis will be foiled again.

Speaking of Johnny Space Ace, it's way past time they found someone to offset him. Why Mick Foley isn't in that spot now is likely due to other commitments, but Triple H is back and healthy, and Raw needs him now more than ever. As "COO", he can override anything Ace comes up with, especially if it's not "in the best interests of the company". If he wants to stay a face, this is what he has to do.

As for Jericho, well, in the end, it was underwhelming. The cryptic videos? Should've remembered all that business about codes back in '07. Turning heel already? Please, no. Raw needs a stronger #2 face behind Punk, and Zack Ryder isn't there yet, while Cena is fading.

Add Cena. A fresh feud with Kane may do wonders for him, but this feels like the two of them are driving the creative portion themselves. The cast of idiots that make up the writing team couldn't come up with the atmosphere and the B-movie feel at the end of the show. I don't see Cena turning full heel. Yet. If it is a means of making him the heel vs. Rock, well, that's the wrong way, pilgrims.

Oh, and the women's tag was fine except for the tired finish. I could write a better scenario.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I think Punk's character is still basically fine. They've added little touches that I think ring hollow with him, but it isn't to the point where it takes away from the basic idea. I think if there was one thing Punk did that was a negative for his whole character, it was something he did himself off TV on Twitter when he posted about fans complaining but continuing to watch after a bad Raw. He's supposed to be inspiring those people, not mocking them.

2:22 PM  

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