WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 11/28/11 from Columbia, SC.
The Big News: CM Punk retained the WWE title by defeating Alberto Del Rio.
The show started with Piper’s Pit. Roddy Piper said his career was driven by crowd energy and introduced John Cena. They both kept saying WWE Universe for no apparent reason. Piper brought up the names of Steve Austin, Bret Hart and the Rock and everybody cheered. Then he brought up John Cena’s name. Cena got a mixed reaction with a few more cheers than boos and then chants for Cena. The scripted idea was clearly that they would boo, which completely stalled the promo with Piper losing track of what to say next.
Piper ended up bringing up people cheering when Rock attacked Cena at Survivor Series. Cena admitted some people don’t like him and tried to frame this as a good thing. Piper said the boos are getting louder and if Cena doesn’t tell the crowd how he actually feels, he will lose at WrestleMania. I’m not sure how exactly those two things relate, but that’s okay.
Cena brought up people hating him in the past, such as WrestleMania against HHH, MITB against Punk, against Edge in Toronto, and at Hammerstein Ballroom. Cena said MSG wasn’t a big deal compared to those and it was just people having fun. He further brought up Make-a-Wish, children and the armed forces to babyface himself. He said the boos will never get to him. He added that in Miami, regardless of what people say, he will be fine with himself and he knows he can beat the Rock.
Piper said that from Hall of Famer to future Hall of Famer, if Cena doesn’t get his feelings off his chest and get rid of the denial, he won’t win. Piper handed Cena his Hall of Fame ring. Cena said that he is in a good place. Piper said he would help Cena win and slapped Cena. Cena acted like he was going to respond but then just handed back the ring and left.
There were some good ideas mixed in here, but the overall segment was rambling and confusing. They clearly had a script and when crowd reactions didn’t go as the script planned, it made it harder for Piper and Cena to adjust.
The big positive is I very much like the introduction of the idea that Cena isn’t being authentic when he acts like he is cool with being booed. I actually think that’s one of the least appealing features of Cena’s character and bringing it up has two positive purposes. It lays the groundwork for a Cena turn down the line, with Cena eventually snapping and explaining that the resentment has been festering for year. Plus, it makes him more likeable until then, as he is actually addressing and trying to explain why he doesn’t react negatively to fans trashing him when it’s only human to feel differently.
Miz beat John Morrison in a falls count anywhere match. Before the match, Miz attacked Morrison’s leg with a pipe from behind. He worked over Morrison’s leg. Finally, he hit a skull crushing finale on the stage. Rather than Miz covering, the referee stopped the match and they carted Morrison off. Miz took the microphone. He said last week was Truth, this week was Morrison and next week, we’ll see. Miz said he is the only one who can make this kind of impact. The clear goal of this segment was to get over Miz as a threat.
Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox beat the Bellas. In a cool little touch, they had a quick flash in the corner of the screen directing people to a youtube clip following up the little hidden video from last week. The video said that on the second day of 2012, it will be the end of the world as you know it. Eh, I feel fine. Natalya and Beth Phoenix jogged around the ring during this match and left. Alicia pinned one of the Bellas with a somersault leg drop. The match was short and sloppy like a…never mind.
Backstage, John Laurinaitis on the phone said he would see Brodus Clay next week. David Otunga wanted to know why Laurinaitis was jerking Clay around. Laurinaitis said he is getting Clay angrier and angrier so he will be really dangerous when he finally does compete. Laurinaitis added that he is doing Clay a favor. Alberto Del Rio came in and Laurinaitis wanted to make Del Rio was ready for his title shot. Del Rio said yes and Survivor Series was a temporary setback.
CM Punk came in and did some lame comedy making fun of Laurinaitis and Del Rio. He did get in a clever line about googling David Otunga and just getting back a bunch of results for Jennifer Hudson. Punk said the WWE title wasn’t going anywhere. When Punk left, Otunga suggested that Punk might get himself disqualified on purpose. Laurinaitis said that if Punk did that, he would lose the title.
Dolph Ziggler beat Randy Orton. This was pretty good and they gave them some time, but it didn’t come close to last week’s Ziggler/Punk match. Orton was in control for a little while at the beginning. Ziggler took control. Orton came back with a draping DDT but Ziggler rolled out of the ring when he went for the RKO. Wade Barrett, who had been doing commentary, got on the apron. Orton knocked Barrett off, but Ziggler rolled back in and hit the zig zag for the pin. Ziggler did a headstand on the floor in celebration. They treated this like a big win on commentary but the distraction finish has been used to death and means next to nothing getting over the winner at this point.
Daniel Bryan came to the ring for a segment with Michael Cole. Cole said that Bryan was given a steel cage match for the title against Mark Henry Tuesday on Smackdown. Bryan replied that he earned that by winning a fatal four way. He labeled Cole the worst announcer in the history of WWE and told Cole to show him a little respect. Cole said he couldn’t respect a man who tried to cash in Money in the Bank against a defenseless champion. He called Bryan a liar who said he would cash in at Mania but then didn’t. He added that it was hilarious Bryan thought he won the title on Smackdown but didn’t get it. He went even further, saying Bryan is a disgusting hypocrite and he hopes Henry tears him apart.
Bryan admitted to being a hypocrite. He said he had plans to cash in at Mania but those plans changed when Henry tried to end his career. Bryan said he realized MITB didn’t guarantee him anything and he saw the opportunity and took it. He added that tomorrow he would have an opportunity and he will follow his dream to become WWE champion.
Mark Henry came out limping. Henry said Bryan should be ashamed of himself trying to take advantage of an injured man and Teddy Long should be ashamed booking Henry in a match when he is injured. Henry said that’s okay, because he is the world’s strongest champion and he will successfully defend his title. Henry told Bryan that Bryan can’t beat him, injured or not. Bryan stomped Henry’s leg and said that we will see tomorrow night. The Bryan character is interesting right now, although unfortunately it’s hard to see where he would fit in as a heel given WWE’s continued fixation with size.
Zack Ryder beat Jack Swagger. Swagger hit a belly to belly throw and a back breaker. He went for the Vader bomb but Ryder countered with his feet to Swagger’s face and hit the Rough Ryder for the win. Mick Foley came out in a Santa outfit to plug Smackdown. Elsewhere, Punk told Laurinaitis to kiss his ass.
CM Punk beat Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio worked over Punk’s shoulder for a while. Punk came back with a leg lariat, neck breaker, knees from the clinch and a high knee. Del Rio countered a bulldog attempt into an arm breaker. Del Rio then hit a bridging German suplex for two. Punk went for GTS but that was countered into a DDT for two.
Del Rio removed the turnbuckle pad and as the referee went to replace it, Ricardo Rodriguez threw a chair into the ring. Del Rio threw it to Punk, trying to get Punk disqualified, but Punk threw it back and went down. The referee turned around to see Punk down and Del Rio standing with the chair, but Del Rio was able to talk the referee out of disqualifying him.
Punk used a rollup for two. Rodriguez got on the apron and Del Rio tried to throw Punk into the exposed turnbuckle. Punk countered that and hit the GTS on the exposed turnbuckle for the pin. Rodriguez complained afterwards and Punk gave him the GTS too. This was a good match.
This was the second straight improved edition of Raw, so hopefully that trend will continue. Last week’s show was carried by good wrestling, while I thought this show’s strength was more improved booking.