WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 11/1/11 from Atlanta, GA.
The Big News: Pay-per-view is dead. For WWE, anyway.
Rock was on the screen to start the show. He had a graying beard. He said that he and John Cena represent different eras. He acknowledged Cena’s offer to team up but then rejected it with a hell no. He said that he doesn’t want to slap hands with Cena and would rather slap Cena’s face. Rock then said he thought about it more and that the world hates R. Truth and Miz and wants to see them get their asses kicked. So Rock agreed to take the match and said he would show Cena what Cena will be receiving at WrestleMania.
This segment didn’t work very well. The gray hair is a negative for a kick ass figure. The constant cuts to the audience watching Rock on the screen again accentuated the fact he wasn’t there and the crowd didn’t react that well. It’s a well-established angle that usually works where two faces who don’t like each other put aside their differences to team up against menacing heels, but the problem is they haven’t done enough to put real heat on Miz and Truth. The crowd would much rather see Rock kick Cena’s ass than those of Miz and Truth, which makes Rock less likeable to those who support him for agreeing to the match.
Mark Henry beat CM Punk via DQ. The stipulation was that if Punk won he would get a title match, so Alberto Del Rio ordered Ricardo Rodriguez to attack Henry for the DQ. He hit Henry with his shoe until the ref called for the DQ. Punk went after Del Rio and Rodriguez. Del Rio ran away so Punk grabbed Rodriguez and threw him to Henry for the world’s strongest slam.
Kermit and Miss Piggy appeared on the stage for the first of a great many Muppets segments. They were interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger. Swagger threatened to make frog legs and a ham sandwich out of them. Kermit said he didn’t want trouble with Swagger or his mother. Vickie got mad and this led to an argument with Miss Piggy. Santino came out and said they couldn’t be picking on the Muppets because Swagger would be wrestling Santino and Dolph Ziggler would be wrestling Zack Ryder. Kermit and Piggy said “Woo Woo Woo, You Know It.” Kelly Kelly then kissed Kermit on her way to the ring and Miss Piggy freaked out.
Eve Torres won a costume battle royal. Costumes used to be an excuse to get the women in risqué costumes but now they wear more clothes than usual. Rosa Mendes, Aksana, AJ, Tamina and Kaitlyn went out quickly. Kelly Kelly and Eve eliminated the Bella twins.
That left the heel Natalya against the three faces Alicia Fox, Kelly and Eve. The faces of course triple teamed Natalya. Natalya fought them off one on three and eliminated Kelly and then Alicia on her own. That gave Eve the opportunity to throw Natalya out from behind to win. Hey, I’m just relaying what they did. Afterwards, Beth and Natalya were going to attack Eve but Kelly and Alicia made the save.
Backstage, Bunsen prepared a potion for Beaker to give to Santino. Beaker ran off with the potion but ran into Christian. Christian poured the potion onto the ground. Sheamus stuck up for Beaker and they acted like they were family members because they have similar hair.
Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett beat Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston. The heels worked over Kingston, who tagged Bourne. Barrett went for wasteland but Bourne countered with a DDT. Bourne went to the top but Rhodes distracted him and Barrett gave him wasteland for the pin. After the match, Christian came out to help the heels attack the tag champs but Sheamus made the save. They showed Statler and Waldorf watching and bantering in a luxury box.
John Laurinaitis was texting backstage when CM Punk came in. Punk complained about Ricardo Rodriguez. Punk wanted to know what he had to do to get a title match. How about you win a match, buddy? Punk went on and on like he has to jump through hoops to get a title shot. Laurinaitis said Punk could get a title match if Del Rio agreed. They announced Brodus Clay for next week.
Big Show beat Alberto Del Rio in a slow and boring match. Del Rio beat on Show forever. Finally Del Rio went for an enzuigiri and Show just caught him with a punch for the clean win. After the match, CM Punk came out and put Alberto Del Rio in the anaconda vise until Del Rio agreed to the title match. Somebody introduce these guys to the concept of duress.
This was a novel build for a pay-per-view title match. I’m used to the antiquated, tired formula where a challenger wins a bunch of matches to earn a title match. But WWE is true avant-garde sports entertainment, where the challenger loses a bunch of matches and then gets a title shot because he attacks the champion after the champion loses cleanly to someone else.
Gonzo and Fozzie were chatting backstage. Gonzo said it would be easy to become WWE champion. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger showed up, with Swagger pulling out Gonzo’s arms and wrapping them around while wacky music played in the background.
Santino beat Jack Swagger. Animal (non-Road Warrior version) rang the bell. Swagger worked over Santino and did pushups on him. Santino made his comeback with a head butt but was caught in the ankle lock. Santino escaped. Beaker gave Santino the potion from earlier. Santino spit it in Swagger’s face and rolled Swagger up for the win.
Zack Ryder beat Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler worked over Ryder. Ryder hit his running kick but Ziggler kicked out. Ziggler used a jaw breaker but was caught with a knee charging Ryder. The referee seemed to count three but then realized Ziggler’s foot was on the bottom rope and called for the match to continue. Vickie tripped Ryder and Ziggler went for the zig zag but Ryder shrugged him off and hit the rough rider for the win. This was a nice finishing sequence.
They announced HHH would be out due to injury for at least five weeks. They also announced Kevin Nash re-signed and will be on Raw next week. Why he needed to be re-signed when he had a no-cut contract to begin with remains a mystery to me. Michael Cole then announced Jim Ross wouldn’t be there. Good thing they advertised that and Cole spent much of this show running down Ross. Cole made fun of Ross and just generally acted like a complete jackass. He teased Ross might show up next week.
Statler and Waldorf were turned off by this nonsense. Elsewhere, Miss Piggy came on to John Morrison. He tried to set up Piggy with Hornswoggle. He kissed her so she hit him. He was excited. Kermit came in and got bagged by Cody Rhodes.
John Cena beat Miz. Miz beat up Cena a bit. Cena hit a big clothesline and top rope rocker dropper for near falls. Miz and Cena were brawling on the outside when R. Truth attacked Cena in a Scream mask. The announcers acted like it was a fan, as if anyone on Earth watching thought it was anybody but Truth. They went back in the ring and Cena just immediately put Miz in the STF anyway for the submission. Truth attacked in the mask afterwards but Cena laid him out too. Good thing Cena has Rock coming back to help him against these treacherous heels.
What do you even say at this point?