WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 12/05/11 from Tampa, FL.
The Big News: A bunch of random guys received title shots against other random guys through happenstance and whatnot, with random stipulations thrown in for good measure.
John Cena came out to start the show. Cena said he was happy Roddy Piper told him how Piper felt. Cena noted the fans have the right to say what they want about him and he respects that. He basically sucked up to the audience. Cena argued he has always dealt with negative reactions but now people are making a big of it. He said it isn’t a big deal but CM Punk beating Alberto Del Rio was a big deal. Cena said Punk needs a number one contender and lobbied for the match. This set up the segment where everybody comes out to say they want a title shot and then the GM makes an impromptu decision to build the entire show around that.
Alberto Del Rio was first out to complain about Punk dropping him on an exposed turnbuckle when an intentional DQ was supposed to cost Punk the title. Dolph Ziggler was next. He pointed out that he beat Randy Orton and is the longest reigning champion in WWE. Cena called Ziggler a jerkoff and said he should give Zack Ryder a title shot. Miz was then out to say that he beat Cena, had the title longer than Del Rio, and doesn’t need Vickie Guerrero.
Miraculously, John Laurinaitis had a solution devised for just this scenario of four guys coming out to demand title shots at the start of the show and he announced each heel would face a Smackdown wrestler. Each man who won would be entered into a title shot at TLC, with a contract signing coming later in the show. He then told John Cena that Cena would be in a social experiment match.
Miz beat Randy Orton via count out in a short match. Orton hit a powerslam in the ring and a powerslam on the floor. Wade Barrett appeared on the stage. Orton proceeded to throw Miz back into the ring and then at the count of eight, chase after Barrett. He was of course counted out.
This was like a parody of WWE’s asinine distraction finishes. The challenger for the title looked like an undeserving joke. And that was done for the sake of “protecting” the face by making him look like the biggest idiot walking the face of the planet. You see, last week, he lost his match because rather than concentrating on his opponent, he decided to go after Wade Barrett.
This week, Wade Barrett comes out during his match again. Did he learn his lesson and decide to focus on wrestling the match at hand? Why of course not. He went after the guy not in the match and lost for the second straight week. But it wasn’t enough that he chased after someone not in his match and got counted out. No, he elected first to roll his opponent into the ring. Then, with his opponent safely lying in the ring at the count of eight, he elected to give chase after the guy not in the match. This is the scenario WWE writers devised to protect one of the company’s top babyfaces. Bravo, WWE. Bravo.
And then, for the coup de grace, Orton gave up chase of Barrett. Because Barrett ducked behind the curtain. Match lost, nemesis gone forever, Orton turned around to go back to the ring. Only, you see, Barrett hadn’t in fact disappeared forever! When Orton turned his back, Barrett attacked Orton from behind, left Orton lying, and departed chuckling to himself. And I’d be chuckling too if I picked a fight with a mentally handicapped ogre.
WWE aired a commercial for WWE Network in 2012. They plugged live wrestling, old wrestling and reality TV shows. They specifically mentioned legends in a house. This was all announced with one of the tackiest video packages you’re ever going to see.
Backstage, Zack Ryder wanted a title shot. John Laurinaitis said a petition isn’t enough. John Cena came in and told jokes. Laurinaitis made Cena vs. Ryder. Cena didn’t want this. Laurinaitis acted like Cena was saying Ryder was no competition for him. Ryder instantaneously was fooled by the heel’s manipulation and got angry at Cena. Laurinaitis announced that if Ryder won he would get a US title shot and if Cena won he would get into the WWE title match at TLC.
Backstage, David Otunga told Kevin Nash that Nash would be wrestling HHH in a ladder match at TLC. Nash said he doesn’t do ladder matches. Otunga said that a sledgehammer would be hanging above the ring and Nash was fine with this. Nash really should have trusted his first instinct on this one. Otunga said that Nash would be wrestling on Raw. Nash didn’t care about his opponent beyond it not being HHH.
Alberto Del Rio beat Daniel Bryan very quickly and clean with an armbar. This is how you build up a title challenger. They then announced Tribute to the Troops next Tuesday.
Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres beat Beth Phoenix and Natalya. They worked over Kelly a few seconds and then Kelly just rolled up Beth for the pin without even getting the tag. This was one of those women’s matches that accomplishes nothing other than making matches feel fake and insignificant. In other words, every WWE women’s match.
John Cena beat Zack Ryder. Ryder worked over Cena with a long headlock, a dropkick off the second rope, and a tornado DDT. Cena came back with the Cena slam and five knuckle. Ryder countered the FU and hit a running kick to the head. He went for the Rough Ryder but Cena countered into the FU for the pin. Ryder was annoyed after and Cena left.
Backstage, John Cena confronted John Laurinaitis. He wanted Ryder to get his title shot. Laurinaitis offered Ryder another opportunity, but only if Ryder won a match and only if Cena gave up his WWE title match at TLC. Cena agreed.
Zack Ryder beat Mark Henry. Henry dominated the match. Then John Cena ran in, gave Henry an FU, and put Ryder on top for the win. Ryder was perfectly happy with this and celebrated. This was more stupid booking. Ryder keeps losing and backs into a title match he is presumably going to win only through blatant interference. Meanwhile, the world champion gets pinned and it’s not even setting up a match. Henry himself isn’t hurt but wins and losses just feel like the random stuff that happens depending on who interferes or distracts this week.
We went backstage again. This time, Vickie Guerrero told Dolph Ziggler that Sheamus would be his opponent. Jack Swagger said he’d be there to help. Ziggler told Swagger that Ziggler didn’t need that. They teased tension but then laughed it off. Swagger said he’d be there but Ziggler again said no and left.
Kevin Nash beat Santino with a power bomb. After the match, he teased hitting Santino with the sledgehammer but didn’t do it. They showed CM Punk chatting backstage with Evan Bourne, who is obviously back now.
Sheamus beat Dolph Ziggler. Sheamus beat up Ziggler with punches and clotheslines. He set up for the razor’s edge but Ziggler escaped. Sheamus accidentally ran into the post but Zack Ryder then came out. Ziggler was of course distracted and Sheamus hit the Brogue kick for the pin. After the match, Ryder gave Ziggler the Rough Ryder.
I loved the booking of this match. Just kidding! It was shit. Again. So, not only is the challenger backing into the US title match but the champion is too. And through what means? The ever popular distraction finish, which would never happen in any legitimate athletic competition but manages to occur approximately 150 times a year in WWE, helping the winners not one iota, making the losers look like nimrods and imbeciles, and making matches themselves feel like utterly phony contrivances. And shockingly, WWE seems to be struggling getting people to pay $55 to see matches on pay-per-view. Go figure.
The show ended with a contract signing for the TLC title match. John Laurinaitis said exciting things are coming like the introduction of Brodus Clay and a Mark Henry vs. John Cena match next week. The Clay thing is just a joke at this point for WWE. The crowd just went “what” to the Henry-Cena match announcement and didn’t show any interest whatsoever. And why would they care, given the way matches are treated?
CM Punk said contract signings are clichéd and plugged twitter. Laurinaitis said he is about excitement and that Punk vs. Del Rio vs. Miz wouldn’t be a traditional match but a triple threat TLC match. Why? Why not? Punk said he’s okay facing a guy who lost at Survivor Series and a guy who lost on Raw. He told jokes about Miz. Miz said he took out Truth and Morrison. Laurinaitis wished Morrison the best in his future endeavors. Miz said those were his friends so imagine what he will do to Punk. He said he will take back the title.
Del Rio said he is the best and will take back the title. Punk made fun of him for always talking about destiny. Miz and Del Rio agreed that Cena won’t leave TLC with the title. Laurinaitis called for a goofy photo op and they all lined up except Punk. Punk said these things are supposed to end in violence so he started a fight for the hell of it. He ended up giving Del Rio a bulldog through the table and giving Miz the GTS. This segment had more comedy than anything and made little attempt to create any tension for the TLC match. Punk played the role of Cena, telling jokes and acting like he doesn’t give a shit about the matches.
WWE’s streak of two better shows ended abruptly with just an incompetently booked show. The people putting together the show seemed to have no concept of the idea that in order to sell pay-per-views, you have to get fans invested in match results and make the matches feel important.