The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 12/05/11
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Live from Tampa, Florida this is the Raw Deal…
This will be one of the shortest Raw Deal’s of the year. Sorry. Working more this month. Money money yeah yeah. Better to do it this way than to have you wait until Wednesday when I will have more time. Let’s get to it.
The show started with John Cena in the ring for a promo. He was pretty good here, basically going over the same “some fans boo me while others cheer me” routine that they had Piper do on last week’s Raw. Then he said he wanted a shot at the WWE Title. Del Rio came out; he said he wanted a WWE Title shot too because Punk used an exposed turnbuckle to win last week. Dolph Ziggler came out saying he deserves a WWE Title shot since he beat Orton last week and he’s the longest reigning champion in the company. Miz came out next, bragged about taking out Truth, Morrison & winning at WrestleMania, so he deserved a shot. Laurinaitis ended the segment by saying all of them would face a Smackdown wrestler. He said Cena had a match that was part of a social experiment. If they won they were in the WWE Title match at TLC. I like the idea. It meant the TLC match could be a five way match, a fatal fourway, triple threat, one on one or nothing if they all lost. All of those scenarios worked because I figured it would be a TLC match anyway where multi-man matches were a good thing. JL told Miz that his match was up first. Long segment, but it was productive in that it set up things for later in the show as well as the PPV. There would also be a contract signing later in the show because they love booking contract signing angles.
Randy Orton walked out as the opponent of The Miz as they went to break.
The Miz d. Randy Orton via countout (*1/2)
It was a quick match, getting just under five minutes. A few minutes in, Wade Barrett’s music hit to interrupt. I hate that. Why play his music? That’s lame. Orton was distracted, he ended up chasing after Barrett and he got DQ’d, which gave Miz the victory. That meant Miz got a title shot at TLC. I hate countout endings, but it got Miz the win and added more heat to the simmering Orton/Barrett rivalry. After the match Barrett attacked Orton to get the upper hand even more. Orton’s been losing more than normal of late. I kind of like it although he’s my favorite to win the Royal Rumble because it’s in his hometown of St. Louis. I think a local boy might actually win something there.
There was a video package for WWE Network. They had a lot of fancy graphics and showed old clips of things (including a classic Ric Flair promo) while also emphasizing new programming including that show about WWE Legends living in a house together. Although it didn’t say it in the video package, the tentative release date for it is April 1, 2012, which is the date of WrestleMania 28. That’s the goal with the channel being available in 40 million American homes when they launch it. I hope it happens. It’s smart of them to do it at that time since so many people are paying attention to WWE around that time.
They did a backstage segment with Laurinaitis in his office where he was with Zack Ryder. They brought up how he wanted a US Title shot and had all those signatures on the petition. Cena showed up wearing Ryder merch. JL said Cena would face Ryder in the social experiment match. If Cena wins he gets into the WWE Title match at TLC while if Ryder wins then he gets the US Title shot he’s looking for. Cena wasn’t thrilled about the idea.
Backstage, David Otunga let Kevin Nash know that he was facing Triple H at TLC in a Ladder Match with a sledgehammer hanging from the ceiling. If you get it you can use it. What a silly stip for a Ladder Match especially for two guys with a lot of injuries in their careers. They also mentioned that Triple H was going to see doctors to find out if he’d be medically cleared. Obviously he will be. He’s a miraculous healer. Nash also had a match later.
Alberto Del Rio d. Daniel Bryan (1/2*)
It was over in about two minutes. Bryan had taped ribs because he was selling his rib injury from Smackdown on Tuesday. When he tried to mount some offense, Del Rio attacked him there. He ended up making DBry tap with the Cross Armbreaker in convincing fashion. Good win while Bryan isn’t hurt too bad because they did a good job of putting over Bryan’s toughness for wrestling hurt.
What the hell was that music playing when Kelly, Eve & Alicia were walking to the ring? Brutal. I want to see somebody walk up to Vince McMahon and start playing that song. That would be great comedy.
Kelly Kelly & Eve d. Beth Phoenix & Natalya (1/4*)
Before the match, there was a video about the Beth/Natalya team that was interrupted by the next “It Begins” video, which I’ll get to momentarily. Kelly ended up rolling up Beth in a cradle to win the match after about a minute. The other girls didn’t even tag in. We’ve seen that before. Have they already run out of babyfaces? Apparently so.
Back to the video, it interrupted the Pinup Strong video with new material. The announcers acted as if it didn’t happen. It was the same message about somebody coming back on January 2, 2012. I know I was leaning towards Undertaker before, but the more I see & read makes me believe it’s for Chris Jericho. It’s in tune with his other “debuts” in many ways. Or maybe I just hope it’s Jericho. Not sure. Either way that’s my pick…for this week at least.
Quick Plugs: The voting for the 2011 WWE Johnny Awards have begun. Already have polls up for Best Wrestler, Best Feud & Worst Feud. Keep checking TJR out daily for regular polls. My winners are the actual award winners, but we are running the polls to see what you the people think too…Check out my buddy Brandon at With Leather. Daily sports writing with a comedic touch, plus he writes great “Best & Worst” columns about WWE Raw as well as PPVs…I was at Mick Foley’s comedy show on Saturday and wrote a review of it. Good times. Check it out…The last TJR Radio episode of 2011 is this Wednesday at 10pmET. You can call or Skype in to chat on our end of 2011 show. Plugging over.
John Cena d. Zack Ryder (**1/2)
This was the top of the second hour match. They worked their asses off, had a competitive match that showed Ryder could hang with Cena and they built to the finish very well. I really liked how it was booked, with each guy hitting big moves although not being able to hit their finisher until Cena was able to hit the Attitude Adjustment to win. They got seven minutes with no commercial to hurt it. After the match, Ryder asked Cena why he beat him when he knew how much Ryder wanted to win. Cena felt bad about it because he’s such a good guy. He ended up running to the back to seek justice…apparently.
They plugged the Slammy Awards show next week. I hate three hour Raw episodes, but you already knew that.
Back from break, Cena went talk to JL and told jobber Otunga to scram. Cena complained about the situation because Ryder gave it his all against him and he deserves a US Title shot. Laurinatis agreed, but only if Cena was willing to give up his WWE Title shot. After mulling it over, Cena gave up his WWE Title shot so Ryder had a US Title shot if he could beat his opponent…whoever that may be.
They aired a Kane vignette that said “Kane Resurrected” at the end of it. In other words, he’s coming back with the mask on. My guess is after Henry beats Big Show at TLC, Kane will come back with a mask on to attack Henry for taking him out many months ago. I’d rather see Kane as a heel, but I think a babyface role is more likely.
Before Ryder’s second match started, Otunga told ring announcer Justin Roberts that the next match would be a No DQ match.
No DQ Match: Zack Ryder d. Mark Henry (1/2*)
They did a good job of having Zack in the ring alone as they waited for his opponent’s music. When Mark Henry’s music hit, Zack had the “oh shit” look on his face. Henry dominated him, but the match had No DQ rules in it so John Cena made his way down to ringside. He went into the ring, gave Mark Henry an impressive Attitude Adjustment and Ryder covered for the win after two minutes. Ryder gets his US Title shot. Yep, the World Champion lost in two minutes although it was in cheap fashion.
To sum up the story, Cena gave up his own personal gain (a WWE Title shot) to help a friend that he thought deserved an opportunity at a lesser title. What a guy. Give him a hug. Next week they need to have somebody call Cena an idiot for passing on the chance to hold the WWE Title again. Have them get in his face to say you’re supposed to be in wrestling to be the best, not to give other people chances. Say he’s lost his drive to succeed because of the way the people boo him. Can they call in Roddy Piper to do that promo next week? It would rock. The crappy thing about this whole thing is that Ryder looks like too much of a loser because he got the US Title match after losing a match and then winning a match because they basically cheated. Then again, the whole thing was built up with JL treating Ryder unfairly, so perhaps that cancels everything. I don’t know how WWE logic works!
Backstage, Dolph & Swagger were outside JL’s door as Vickie was in there trying to get the decision changed. They couldn’t do it so Ziggler had to defend the US Title against Ryder in the near future. Swagger said he’d help him against Sheamus, but Ziggler didn’t want him to. Good job of portraying Dolph as the showoff who doesn’t want or need help.
Kevin Nash d. Santino (SQUASH)
They tried to make it a big deal that Nash was wrestling on Raw for the first time in eight years. You know why it was the first time in eight years? Because he was never that good in the ring. He ended up winning with his Jackknife Powerbomb. Post match he teased attacking him with a sledgehammer, but stopped himself. I’d expect a dueling Nash/Hunter promo next week.
Random shot backstage had CM Punk talking to Evan Bourne. First time Bourne has been on TV in about a month since he got suspended.
Next Tuesday is Tribute to the Troops on USA Network. Always a fun show to watch.
Sheamus d. Dolph Ziggler (**)
Two of my favorite performers. They got about five minutes. I was hoping for more. Their chemistry was great. Ziggler’s so fast in the ring while Sheamus’ power moves look as good as anybody. When you combine their two strengths it can lead to some incredible chemistry as we saw here. Near the end, Zack Ryder’s music played and he walked out to distract Ziggler. It worked because when Ziggler turned around, Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick and won the match.
The build to Ziggler/Ryder has been great. I’m assuming this leads to the US Title change at TLC, which is the right call. Ziggler’s ready to drop the title in order to move up the card. I wish every feud could be built up in a strong way like this.
The WWE Title Contract Signing for TLC
Another contract signing to end Raw? How many contract signings has WWE had this year? It seems like a record. At least they used Punk to make fun of it. In the ring were Miz, Del Rio (with Rodriguez), John Laurinaitis and then Punk. Laurinaitis announces that the title match at TLC will be a Triple Threat TLC match. My guess last week was that it was going to be a four way with Cena involved, but that’s not happening…at least this week. I was pretty close though. Punk wanted to get “pier six brawl” trending on Twitter and apparently it did, so that’s the power of WWE on Twitter. After Miz said that he took out R-Truth & Morrison, Punk made fun of his look and came up with this theory: “I’m going to guess that you took them to see that new Twilight flick – not that there’s anything wrong with that.” That was funny, unless you work for GLAAD. JL had a great line in here too. Laurinaitis: “I’d actually like to take this opportunity to wish John Morrison the best in his future endeavors.” For what it’s worth, there’s a rumor that Morrison may be back in WWE soon and that he just needed a break from the grind. I’m not totally sure on that, but it makes sense. Why mention somebody’s name that has an expired deal that may never come back? Since they mentioned him a few times it makes me think they will use him again soon. Del Rio tried to speak. Punk: “If you say because it’s your destiny I swear to Jeebus I’m going to start drinking.” Now THAT line was really funny by the Straight Edge Superstar. Laurinaitis kept trying to keep the peace, even suggesting that they take a picture together to celebrate the moment. There were a lot of great lines. I wish I had time to write them all out.
Punk was frustrated with the contract signing, so he took it to his opponents. He put Del Rio through a table with his bulldog and then he put Miz down with the GTS. The show ended with Miz & Del Rio, knocked out on the broken table while Punk held the WWE Title high above his head. Just like last week, Punk stood over his opponents with the WWE Title in his hand as the show came to a close.
Three Stars of the Show
1. John Cena – Great work all night. Impressed me.
2. Zack Ryder – Made to look a bit weak at times, but resilient as well.
3. CM Punk – Top notch mic work.
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 3.5 (October 10)
2011 Average: 5.77
Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 7, 5, 6, 5.5
That’s three straight above average Raw episodes in a row, this time scoring a 6.5 after the 7.5 last week and the 7 the week before that. They gave away a lot of big matches for free. It was main eventer vs. upper midcarder through most of the night. Not many clean finishes, but they were done in a way that didn’t hurt anybody too bad.
As much as it pains me to do it, I have to credit John Laurinaitis for his work too. He did an excellent job of generating heat especially during the contract signing segment. Still no Brodus Clay, by the way. They did mention him, but no time to show him. Next week’s a three hour show so they should be able to find a way to fit him in there.
I do have a gripe with this show. Who decided it was a good idea to play somebody’s theme song when they came out during a match? I’m not a fan. It happened for Barrett & Ryder. It needs to stop. Guys can do run-ins if necessary, but playing a man’s music as he’s interfering is silly.
Other than that, I thought it was a productive edition of Raw that furthered a lot of angles and did a good job of building up to the PPV after ignoring it the last two weeks.
To bring this column home it’s Twitter Ten time. I asked you questions and you responded to me @johnreport.
@ROREO93 Do you think the PG era will ever end?
Ever? Of course. But I don’t know when. It’s cyclical. It might be 5, 10 or 20 years. Who knows?
@lastmanoftruth who u got for 2013 hall of fame top to bottom?
If WM29 is in Toronto then Edge & Trish. If WM29 is in Dallas then Foley as headliner. And Snooki. I’m joking about her I think.
@Richie_Co What wrestler now would u put into the attitude era n vice-versa? Why? Feuds?
Heel Punk in SES persona vs. Stone Cold. Daniel Bryan vs. heel Shawn Michaels. Those two stand out to me.
@dannymanning87 has sin cara been a failure after such a hyped debut?
I guess you could say that, but injuries happen. I think they had unrealistic expectations for his debut.
@JBHuskers Will Michael Cole get taken out of the announce booth to be a heel manager?
I hope so, but doesn’t seem like that is happening. Vince likes him in the announcer role I guess.
@FakeBookerT Dawg who’s in yo personal FAVE FIVE?
OH MY GOODNESS~! I’d go with Punk, Christian, D-Bry, the Zig Zag Man and gotta support Tyson Kidd.
@Mofoticon How far do you think Zack Ryder can go? World Title level, or is the US Title his peak?
He’s only 26 so lots of time. His gimmick needs to change to get higher than US Title level. Don’t see him moving up the ranks for a while, though. Not going to be easy.
@BrothorityofBro Who do you believe would be the best opponent for @CMPunk at Wrestlemania, other than the the “dream match” with Austin?
I say Chris Jericho, but if he’s not back yet then Ziggler or Miz would be the best choice.
@YouDontShea When am I going to see @coltcabana back in the WWE…?
Not soon apparently. He says they haven’t gotten in touch with him. I don’t understand that. I’d hire him.
@MarkRigney1979 do you ever watch soccer, if so do you have a team?
Only international. I’m Greek and Canadian, so I root for them. Since Canada sucks that means just Greece. Euro 2004 champs!
That’s all for this week. It’s about 2,000 words less than last week, so I apologize if it seems short. We’re doing TJR radio on Wednesday night at 10pmET, then on Friday I’ll have a column on Stone Cold Steve Austin, Saturday with Canton’s Corner (I’ll have more thoughts on Raw there) and a week from now with the Slammys. Plus, as previously mentioned the ongoing Johnny Awards voting at thejohnreport.net. Tis the season to be busy!
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.