WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 01/16/11 from Anaheim, CA.
The Big News: Mick Foley made his return to in ring competition and John Laurinaitis revealed his true intentions.
Mick Foley came out to start the show. He said he was happy to return to Raw in a nostalgic, non-wrestling role because he has already lived out his WWE dreams, including headlining WrestleMania in Anaheim. However, he now has one more dream. Foley noted two of his kids were too young to see him wrestle and he wants them to. Thus, he announced his intentions to enter the Royal Rumble this year. The second he mentioned that, Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero immediately walked out to react to this decision.
Ziggler criticized Foley for trying to take a spot in the Rumble from someone else. Ziggler did some WWE style comedy and said Foley would be eliminated pretty much immediately. Foley said that could happen, or he could draw a good number and win. Foley said he was in the Rumble not to be in it but to win it. Ziggler responded that he has beaten John Cena and CM Punk and after winning the title at the Rumble it would be a letdown to wrestle an out-of-shape walking punch line like Foley at Mania. Ziggler told Foley to go away.
CM Punk at that point joined the festivities. Punk said it was good to see Foley. He said that they are a lot alike. They’re unconventional, don’t fit into a mold, and don’t hide behind a woman. Punk said they have earned what they have achieved unlike Ziggler and John Laurinaitis. Punk vowed to be champion at the end of the Royal Rumble because he is the best wrestler in the world.
John Laurinaitis came out and said he would be a fair referee at the Rumble. He added that he would not put Foley in the Rumble. Vickie Guerrero then laughed at Foley. This was a strong opening segment, particularly the Foley/Ziggler interaction. I like this usage of Foley.
Epico and Primo beat Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston to retain the tag titles. They showed highlights from Epico and Primo’s house show title win in Oakland. The heels very briefly worked over Bourne. Bourne hit a huracanrana on Epico that sent Epico into Primo. Kingston got the tag and came in with a springboard clothesline, boom drop and trouble in paradise on Epico. Rather than covering, Kingston tagged Bourne. Bourne was set up for the shooting star press but decided to watch Kingston and Primo fight on the outside instead. Epico knocked Bourne off the top rope and hit the back stabber for the win.
Backstage, David Otunga gave John Laurinaitis an envelope. Laurinaitis then told Chris Jericho that he would be in the main event six man tag team match. Jericho turned off the lights in the office and showed off his sparkly jacket. Elsewhere, Zack Ryder said he hadn’t been cleared by a doctor. Eve said he was in no condition to perform and should be home recuperating. Ryder said he wouldn’t forfeit his title. Eve said she would go to the ring with him.
Jack Swagger beat Zack Ryder to win the US title. Swagger just squashed Ryder. He hit a side slam, back breaker, Vader bomb and three gut wrench power bombs for the pin. This is awfully dumb booking. Swagger has been treated like a total joke of late, so him winning the title just buries the title. And that’s precisely what they just did with Ryder, treating him as a total joke and then giving him the title. Plus, Ryder made it his big goal to win the US title and he didn’t even make it a full month. And the burial of these guys and the title wasn’t over yet.
Backstage, John Laurinaitis apologized for letting Ryder compete when he wasn’t cleared to wrestle. Laurinaitis said he had just seen the medical report. Eve reprimanded him for that. Laurinaitis told her to shut her mouth and left. That line got a nice reaction from the crowd.
Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox beat the Bella Twins. They brought out Perez Hilton to be ring announcer and they put him over big in a positive manner. It was annoying given what a scumbag Hilton is, and the crowd loudly booed him. The Bellas tried their switch but Hilton stopped them. Kelly then rolled up a Bella for the win. The faces celebrated with Hilton afterwards. Then one of the Bellas shoved him and he took this terrible looking contrived bump.
R. Truth came out to a mixed reaction. He was interrupted by Wade Barrett. Barrett said both he and Truth are in the Rumble, but that Barrett is going to win. Truth did some dumb Photoshop WWE comedy, involving him with Disney characters. It built to Pinocchio’s nose expanding when Pinocchio said Barrett would win the Rumble. Good thing Barrett interrupted Truth to start the segment, then. Truth said Barrett won’t win the Rumble. Miz attacked Truth from behind and Sheamus made the save. Teddy Long then came out to make an over the top rope challenge.
R. Truth won an over the top challenge. Miz, Sheamus and Truth teamed up to dump out Wade Barrett first. Sheamus was trying to throw out Miz when Truth dumped both Miz and Sheamus for the win. Sheamus gave Miz the Brogue kick after the match.
John Cena was furious at John Laurinaitis backstage. Cena accused Laurinaitis of intentionally screwing Ryder out of the title. Laurinaitis said he made a mistake. Laurinaitis added that Cena would be wrestling Kane at the Royal Rumble and Swagger next. Good thing Cena went to his office at that moment, then.
John Cena and Jack Swagger didn’t have a match. Instead, Cena just beat the hell out of Swagger all around ringside. Swagger after squashing Ryder to win the US title literally got no offense in on Cena. Cena threw him into the post, the steps and was about to drop the steps on his head when Kane made the save. Kane appeared on the screen. Kane said Cena is getting it and by the Rumble Cena will have fully embraced hate. Isn’t there anyone else Cena could beat up other than the guy who just won the US title and needs all the help he can get?
Brodus Clay beat JTG. He hit a head butt, corner avalanche and flying crossbody for the pin. He mixed in a lot of comedy as well. The crowd isn’t reacting much to Clay yet, but I think he has an amusing act.
Prior to the main event, Daniel Bryan called Big Show a cruel freak who ran over his girlfriend. Bryan said A.J. will never be the same. He added that Show intentionally ran her over just to get to Bryan. He called Show pathetic. Bryan said that Show didn’t even apologize; he just cried fake tears. Bryan concluded that he appreciates A.J. saying she loves him and he will show her how much he appreciates that Friday. I love the dynamic of the heel saying that he appreciates his girlfriend saying she loves him.
Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler and David Otunga beat CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho/Mick Foley via overturned decision. As that description indicates, a lot happened in this final match. Jericho did the same gimmick circling ringside and encouraging cheers. The crowd chanted Y2J loudly in response. Bryan and Punk both came into the match in the early stages, but Jericho did not. Finally, after Punk was worked over for a bit, he tagged Jericho. Jericho proceeded to lead the crowd in more cheers, then tagged Bryan back in and left celebrating.
The heels took over on Bryan and worked him over. Bryan got the tag to Punk and a brawl broke out. Henry fought with Bryan to the back. That left a two on one situation. Mick Foley came to the ring and said that Laurinaitis had put him in the match. Punk tagged Foley in. Foley hit punches, sweet shin music, a double armed DDT and applied Mr. Socko on Otunga for the win. Laurinaitis then came out and said that since Foley wasn’t a participant, he was reversing the decision.
This led to a show closing angle. Punk cut a promo on Laurinaitis. He said that Laurinaitis doesn’t like Punk because Laurinaitis had the look but not the talent. His brother was half the Road Warriors but he was boring and unsuccessful. Punk said it kills Laurinaitis that Laurinaitis never made it to WWE as a wrestler. So he traded in his tights for a suit and went from someone that sucked to someone that sucks up.
Punk said Laurinaitis is angry that Punk achieved more in the last year than Laurinaitis did in his entire life. Thus, Laurinaitis will try to screw Punk out of jealousy. Punk said it doesn’t matter, because he will still be better than Laurinaitis. Punk promised to kick Laurinaitis’ ass if he gets screwed. Punk pulled back like he was going to punch Laurinaitis and Laurinaitis flinched badly. Punk called Laurinaitis pathetic and left.
With Punk gone, Laurinaitis said he isn’t pathetic and won’t be intimidated by Punk. Foley told Laurinaitis to admit he is going to screw Punk. Foley further called Laurinaitis a kiss ass. Laurinaitis said he will screw Punk. He said he is sick of being disrespected and pushed around. He added that he isn’t appreciated and won’t take it anymore. He hit Foley with a microphone and left.
This was a strong close to the show, based mostly on the strength of Punk’s promo. Punk cut his best promo in a little while, albeit kind of a heelish one. He’s a more natural heel, anyway. Laurinaitis isn’t very good as a performer, but it kind of plays into the role he’s playing and that masks it to some degree for now.
This show had a good beginning and a good end. Much of the middle wasn’t so hot. By recent Raw standards, that’s very good.