WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 01/02/11 from Memphis, TN.
The Big News: Chris Jericho is back and he is in a jovial mood.
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.
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.