WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 12/12/11 from Norfolk, VA.
The Big News: Kane returned in a mask.
The show started with Hornswoggle and Booker T presenting the “Tell me I did not just see that” award. Booker T said a leprechaun winning a battle royal and being granted the ability to speak by Sana Claus says a lot about WWE in 2011. Yes, it does. As did this show. Jim Ross dancing won the award over Santino finishing second in the Royal Rumble, a plant throwing a drink at R. Truth and Miz dressing up as Rock.
When Ross won, Michael Cole went into the ring to complain. Booker T called Cole a loser and said Ross would win a rap off against Cole. Cole did an obnoxious rap. Ross didn’t really rap at all, hesitating and insulting Cole. The fans said Ross won. Booker then encouraged Ross to do a spin-a-roonie. It was about what you’d expect. This segment was death. And unfortunately there were still 2 hours and 40 minutes to desecrate the corpse.
Ted DiBiase and Mick Foley presented the holy shit move of the year. Foley speculated they were together because DiBiase spends extravagantly and Foley is cheap. DiBiase responded basically that it’s because as a minister he’s holy and Foley is shit. That got a good chuckle out of me. Big Show and Mark Henry breaking the ring with a superplex won over Sheamus putting Sin Cara through a ladder, Orton giving Christian an RKO on steps and Evan Bourne hitting a shooting star press off a ladder. Big Show came out to accept the award. He intimated Mark Henry wasn’t there because Henry is scared. Show said the Slammy would go well with the title.
Big Show beat Wade Barrett via DQ. Prior to the match, Barrett said that Big Show’s award was premature given what Barrett will do to Orton at TLC. However, he noted that won’t be unexpected like the award. Finally, Barrett warned Show that if Show leaves TLC with the title, Barrett will be coming for Show next. The match didn’t go long. Barrett set up a table to put Show through but Show woke up and broke the table with his fists. Barrett then just attacked him with a chair for the DQ. Show punched it away and Barrett left.
This was a terrible finish. Why not book one of these guys against someone you don’t have plans for and let him win? It’s more satisfying for the fans, it actually gets someone over, and it helps build the pay-per-view.
Road Dogg came out to present the next award. It was nice to see him back but I was surprised just how little reaction he receives. It speaks to how much of their last boom period is left. CM Punk won the pipe bomb of the year award over a bunch of lame comedy like Truth acting like a goof, Booker T babbling and Santino being tackled by “secret security.” They cut back to the arena with nobody in the crowd reacting as the announcers were practically convulsing with fake laughter.
CM Punk came out with a mannequin in a Dynamic Dudes t-shirt. He had a video tribute for John Laurinaitis with old footage of the Dynamic Dudes, Johnny Ace working out and sporting a mullet and even serving as a flag bearer. Punk laughed at Laurinaitis and left.
The awards continued with Lita returning to present the Divalicious award. Kelly Kelly won over Natalya, Kharma and Beth Phoenix. Beth and Natalya came out to try to take the award but Kelly was able to recover it.
Santino and the Bellas presented the OMG award. HHH won for giving Undertaker a tombstone over Rock giving Cena the Rock Bottom, the Raw walkout and CM Punk taking the WWE title. HHH came out and said the OMG moment was Undertaker being carried from the ring. HHH said nine months later Undertaker is no more. HHH said the streak came to an end at WrestleMania. Surprisingly, that didn’t get any boos. The crowd didn’t really know how to react. HHH said Kevin Nash should have finished the job and Sunday might will make right. HHH vowed to end Nash.
David Otunga and Tony Atlas came out for the “trending star of the year.” Basically, they begged people to mention these people on Twitter and said the first to trend would be the winner. Atlas kept laughing as Otunga spoke.
Dolph Ziggler beat Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder. The match was chaotic early but developed into an exciting, fast paced bout. The announcers, unfortunately, spent the whole match talking about trending. They did back to back superplex spots. Ryder hit the Rough Ryder on Ziggler. Rhodes gave Ryder the roll of the dice. Bryan put Rhodes in the LeBell lock but Ziggler looked to put Bryan in the sleeper. Bryan escaped but Ziggler then gave him the zig zag for the win. They then announced that Ryder won the trending star award. Ziggler gave him the zig zag and took the Slammy. They treated trending on Twitter as much more important than matches.
Christian showed up on crutches and in a neck brace to present the game changer of the year award. Christian said he should win a courageous moment award for showing up and should also be wrestler of the year. He blamed the fans. Rock feuding with Cena won over Vince being relieved of his duties, Edge retiring and Punk taking the title.
Cena came out to accept. He teased Rock was going to come out or show up on the screen but of course Rock didn’t. Cena said he hoped this jab would fuel Rock’s commitment. He said the real game changing moment will come at WrestleMania. He said WWE Universe repeatedly. Cena said they will change the game forever at Mania.
Miz and Alberto Del Rio beat CM Punk and Randy Orton. During this match, Michael Cole talked about how Jim Ross tweeted the rap he was supposed to deliver earlier in the show and ridiculed Ross for failing to deliver it. Given that segment was presented like it was an impromptu challenge, it was beating your audience over the head with the fact that you’re a scripted show. Again, the announcers spent basically the whole match talking about Twitter and burying Ross rather than selling their title program. The crowd was dead.
The heels worked over Punk. As Punk was going for the tag, Wade Barrett pulled Orton off the apron. Miz gave Punk the skull crushing finale for the win. Orton went after Barrett through the crowd, allowing Miz and Del Rio to double team Punk with a ladder. Miz said a pipe bomb would explode in Punk’s face at the PPV.
Goldust and Vickie Guerrero came out to present the A-lister of the year award. Snooki won over Muppets, Cee-Lo Green and Hugh Jackman. They showed Snooki on the screen accepting the award. Backstage, Mark Henry said he will retain the title against Big Show. He added that John Cena embarrassed him and Cena should be more concerned about Henry than Mania.
Sheamus and Jinder Mahal didn’t have a match. They acted like there would be a match but Sheamus just gave him a Brogue kick and left. Why not just pin the guy? Is having a wrestling match with a clean finish so objectionable?
Rey Mysterio came back to present the Wrestler of the Year award. They said WWE Universe over and over and over again. CM Punk won over Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry and John Cena. For some reason, they filmed behind the podium so you could clearly see CM Punk in the award before they played the drumroll and Mysterio paused to build drama. John Laurinaitis accepted the award, saying Punk wasn’t in condition to do so.
John Cena and Mark Henry battled to a no contest. Henry worked over Cena for a while with a bear hug. He hit the world’s strongest slam. Then pyro went off, Kane’s music hit and he came to the ring. Henry bailed and Kane gave Cena the choke slam. Kane was wearing a mask and he took off that mask to reveal another mask like his old one. This was yet another bad finish.
It doesn’t make much sense that Kane would return from Mark Henry injuring him to attack John Cena. But okay, let’s accept Cena’s the guy he wants to hurt. Why wait until Cena’s about to lose a match to do that?
I never like the Slammies because they emphasize the things I don’t like about WWE and de-emphasize the things I do like about wrestling. There was award after award, focusing mostly on goofy comedy, with little wrestling and awful finishes that made matches seem completely insignificant. Add in obnoxious Michael Cole, incessant references to Twitter and WWE beating you over the head with their alternate vocabulary and the whole thing was just insufferable.
But at this point, I honestly feel like it’s almost unfair to complain. They’re so diametrically opposed to what I like and what they used to be by now that maybe people like me would be better off just dumping them permanently rather than sticking around as they continue to massacre what remains of a once great form of entertainment.
And on that dire note, want to make mention that I’m now on Twitter! You can follow me at @toddmartinmma. I will talk about wrestling plenty as well so I’d love to hear from people on there. Hope everyone has a good week.