What up wresting fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw on 10/31/11. With the Muppets set to invade Raw, how did the show fair out? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up with the Rock....via satellite. That's the bad ass way of "bringing it". Anyway, he talks about the positives of teaming up with John Cena since they both represent a generation of pro wrestling. He says he would normally say no to this request, but the Rock's fans see things differently. Since the Rock isn't too fond of Miz and R-Truth, he decides to accept Cena's offer and will be his tag partner. He wants it understood that he is only accepting this request because of his fans. He also tells Cena to pay close attention to the match so he can witness the Rock's greatness. Very basic opening. Couldn't the Rock pick a better location to do this satellite segment? He was out on the beach while it was windy. Was he in the middle of a vacation? Did someone play the Song of Storms during this part? Outside of that, there wasn't anything too special about this. I can see how some people are up in arms whenever the Rock makes an appearance, but it isn't the same if he's not in the building. This also means you can pencil in Rock and Cena vs Awesome Truth at Survivor Series. At this point, I was looking forward to the match, but my feelings would change by the time this night was over.
Match #1: CM Punk vs Mark Henry
John Laurinaitis announced that in order for Punk to get a WWE title match, he needs to beat Henry tonight. The match was pretty short. For the early going of the match, Punk is trying to mount some offense against the Sexual Chocolate. Punk eventually takes him down and hits the Macho Man Flying Elbow, but still a two count. Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez arrive and Del Rio tells Rodriguez to attack Henry. He eventually goes through with it and because of Ricardo's actions, Henry wins this match via DQ. Needless to say, Punk wasn't happy about this since Del Rio found a way around the system. After the match, Punk hits a suicide dive on Del Rio. He grabs Ricardo and is about to attack, but ends up throwing him back in the ring. Henry is back up and hits World's Strongest Slam on Ricardo. You had to figure they wouldn't have Punk beat Henry because of his size and the fact he is champion. They simply want to keep both guys strong without looking completely weak. Then again, we would have a similar scene like this later in the evening that went the total opposite. So, it appears that Punk has lost his championship match...at least for the time being.
Winner via DQ: Mark Henry
Time for the Muppets to make their first appearance of the night. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are talking about the show until they immediately get interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger. Vickie says it's a joke they have to give away screen time to the Muppets this evening. Kermit did get a good one liner in which he said towards Jack "We don't want any trouble from you....or your mother". Vickie and Miss Piggy start to argue until Santino interrupts. He announces it will be Santino vs Swagger and Dolph Ziggler vs Zack Ryder later tonight. It appears this segment is almost over, but Kelly Kelly has to steal the spot light by making out with Kermit. I bet that isn't the first time Kelly has made ou with a frog during her life. Come on, I was set up for that one. The first scene of the Muppets actually didn't go too badly. By the way, it's not easy being green? This should be the catchphrase of Jinder Mahal. Being green can't be all bad. Hell, look at Rydia from Final Fantasy IV?
Match #2: Diva Battle Royal; winner is #1 Contender to Divas Championship
This was a Halloween battle royal, meaning the divas were in costume. Being a video game nerd, I was happy to see the Bellas as Mario and Luigi and AJ as Kitana from Mortal Kombat. Beth Phoenix was on commentary for this match. The match went really quickly and it wasn't anything you aren't used to seeing with the division. The finish comes with Natalya eliminates Kelly and Alicia Fox (might want to remember this). This allows for Eve to sneak up and quickly eliminate Natalya to win the match. Something about Eve winning doesn't really add up. If you watched the show last week, you saw Alicia win a match over Natalya. That would be the first clue that Alicia would be the next diva in line for a title match. If you watch this match, you can see Alicia trying to grab the rope and avoid elimination, but it appeared she slipped. Reckon, I would rather have Eve over Alicia in a title match any day of the week, but I can't help but think Alicia was set to win this match. Well, with her screw up, Eve gets another title match....for no apparent reason. In a way, it kinda proves that Alicia has no business getting title matches when she is slipping up this easily. Again, what does WWE see in her?
Winner via pinfall and "NEW" #1 Contender to Divas Championship: Eve
Backstage where Dr. Bunsen and Beaker are making some sort of super energy drink. I think they invented that already, it's called HGH. Anyway, Beaker runs over to give it to Santino, but ends up running into Christian. In typical bully fashion. Christian picks on the smaller guy and ends up pouring the drink on the floor. Sheamus sees all of this and wonders what is going on, but Christian says nothing and leaves. As Christian leaves, Sheamus and Beaker talk about their family. When I first heard the Muppets would guest host Raw, I knew there would be a scene involving Sheamus and Beaker. I always wondered if Beaker was the inspiration for Sheamus' hairstyle?
Match #3: Air Boom vs Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes
Kind of a random pairing up to go up against Air Boom. Hmm....me thinks this is a set up for a possible Traditional SS match. This was a pretty good match between the four competitors. They went back and forth for a while. The finish comes when Wade hits Wasteland on Evan Bourne for the clean victory. After the match, Christian arrives to attack Air Boom until Sheamus arrives for the save. If they are going this route for a SS match, Randy Orton might end up getting thrown into this match since he is working a program with Rhodes. I can also see Swagger, Dolph, Ryder, or Mason Ryan getting involved in this match. Oh, and Statler and Waldorf watch this and mock Stone Cold's "What" catchpharse. Damn, that was terrible. If you watch the Muppets, Statler and Waldorf are like the best part of the show. Who's wrote this scene? Well, they would redeem themselves later in the night. By the way, Slatler and Waldorf didn't get to call a match. Come on, WWE. We need a break every now and then from Cole.
Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes
Backstage where Punk confronts Laurinaitis. He wants to know what he plans to do after the bulls*** Del Rio pulled tonight. Laurinaitis says that Punk can get his title match, but only if Del Rio says it is okay. Laurinaitis has to be the worst GM ever. He doesn't make any decisions and just lets other people call the shots. Suddenly, a labtop as the GM isn't sounding like such a stupid idea now, is it?
Match #4: Alberto Del Rio vs Big Show
My God, this was a long and boring match. I know people are going to blame Big Show for how this match worked, but I think Del Rio deserves most of the blame. Del Rio was very technical in this match. He did a lot of headlocks, sleeper holds, and leg locks to take down the giant. That really doesn't make for exciting wrestling. After a long, drawn out battle, the finish comes when Show hits the KO punch and wins this match cleanly. After the match, Punk shows up and says he will lock on the Anaconda Vice until Del Rio agrees to give him a title match. Del Rio eventually gives Punk what he wants, and the match is on at SS. So, Show can beat Del Rio cleanly and Punk can't do this to Henry? Now, the Punk/Henry booking was correct, but Del Rio losing cleanly is really bad decision making. Keep in mind this guy is your current world champion and he can't be losing these kind of matches on free TV. Then again, you can argue that Del Rio isn't a really good champion at this point. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I don't really like the thought process here since your world champion looks really weak. In a way, this takes the value out of Punk/Del Rio match. This was a rivalry that had some potential, but they took a few steps backwards tonight. Well, they still have two weeks to make this interesting, but the damage might have been done. Well, I guess we will wait and see.
Winner via pinfall: Big Show
Backstage where Fozzie and Gonzo are talking. I was almost expecting Chris Jericho's band, Fozzy, to show up during this scene. Sadly, that wasn't the case. Vickie's crew arrives and they turn Gonzo into the blue Stretch Armstrong by stretching his hands over his head and tying him up. Fozzie shows concern for his friend, but Gonzo seems to enjoy it. This must be a sick new fetish that's going around.
Match #5: Jack Swagger vs Santino
Animal was the timekeeper for this match. If you are a fan of Animal, prepare to be disappointed since this was his only appearance for the night. Wasted opportunity, WWE. The match was nothing special. The finish comes when Santino appears to be in trouble. Beaker shows up and it appears they made another batch of HGH for Santino to take. He drinks it, but ends up spitting it at Swagger's face. He picks up a quick roll up for the victory. Now, I heard a lot of people bitching and moaning about this match. First off, you had to figure there would be a moment where the Muppets got involved in one the matches, so don't act like you didn't see it coming. Second, it's a Santino match. You know, the resident Bozo the Clown of the WWE. So, why would he not win in a stupid manor? I look at a match like this and it being nothing more than an attempt at comedy. To be fair, it really wasn't that funny. In fact, it would've been way funnier if Animal starting going bats*** crazy on Swagger. Still, I think people are blowing this match way out of hand. It's pro wrestling, so don't take it so seriously.
Winner via pinfall: Santino
Match #6: Zack Ryder vs Dolph Ziggler
This was a pretty good match to watch. This was the match I was expecting at Vengeance, so I guess better late than never. There was a strange moment where Ryder goes for a pin and Dolph has his foot on the rope. At first, the referee gives Ryder the victory, but then he reverses it and the match continues. I guess it quickly went through the referee's mind that this wasn't in the script. I also thought this could've been put in the show to show that Dolph get screwed out of it, but also giving some momentum to Ryder in the process. Then again, that wouldn't be the case when this match got restarted and Ryder ended up picking up a cleaner victory. My only guess is the first victory wasn't suppose to happen and the referee corrected his mistake. Then again, maybe it wouldn've been better if they went the original route since Dolph ends up losing for two straight weeks. The finish comes when Dolph goes for Zig Zag, but Ryder counters and hits Rough Ryder for the clean win. A win like this puts Ryder back in the US title picture. Does anyone else feel WWE can't quite make up their minds with Ryder and Mason Ryan? There are weeks were Mason shows up to take down Dolph, but so does Ryder. WWE really needs to make a clear decision in whom to push for this US title cuz it's kinda confusing. You can still push Ryder and Mason, but only one of them should be chasing the US title....at least for the moment.
Winner via pinfall: Zack Ryder (Woo woo woo!!!)
Cole makes an announcement that JR couldn't be here because of medical reasons. He proceeds to make fun of JR's medical history. That's classy, Cole. Making fun of colon cancer. From what I've heard, JR was available tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cole/JR match was called off because of time constraints. Statler and Waldorf make a crack in how there's nothing worse than listening to Cole. Well, nice to see Statler and Waldorf make a save for tonight. Backstage scene of Miss Piggy hitting on John Morrison. She wants to go out with him, but Morrison says he's busy (Busy doing what? Jobbing?). That isn't fair. Miss Piggy can hit on other people, but Kermit can't? Well, it's not the first time it has happened. Anyway, he has a replacement, which turns out to be Hornswoggle. Miss Piggy isn't too happy about this and does what THE MILLIONS....have wanted to do to Hornswoggle for years. Beat the crap out of him. Kermit arrives, only to be greeted to a Cody Rhodes' paper bag. Miss Piggy's scene was funny, but the paper bag was kinda lame. Oh, and it was announced, in kayfabe, that Kevin Nash has re-signed with WWE and will appear next week. They also claimed that Triple H will be out for five weeks. Just have to see where they are going with this. Either way, this might be the best work I have seen out of Nash in over a decade.
Match #7: Miz vs John Cena
This was a pretty good match. Miz and Cena went back and forth for quite a while. During the match, the two fought near the barricade. A guy in a Ghost Face costume ends up attacking Cena. This attack can't keep Cena down since he still manages to fight back. The finish comes when Cena wins with the STF. After the match, the Ghost Face person returns, but Cena takes him out with the AA. He takes off his mask and it turns out to be R-Truth. The show ends with Cena standing tall and posing towards the audience. I really didn't like the decision making here. I personally don't have a problem with Cena winning the match, but I didn't like how Cena took out BOTH members of Awesome Truth in one night. It almost begs the question. What's the point of Cena asking for the Rock's help if it appears he can handle Awesome Truth on his own? I would have preferred for Awesome Truth to take out Cena tonight. It would have added a lot more value that Cena does need help and maybe Rock and Cena could be in for a really long night. Instead, it makes Cena look too strong. I realize he is the face of the company, but you don't have to make him look this overpowered. In a way, it kinda takes away some of the value of the Rock/Cena pairing if Cena can do this all by himself. Now, I am sure there are plenty of people very interested in the Rock/Cena team, but I can see a lot of people losing interest after tonight. I was actually looking forward to this match at the PPV, but this performance kinda takes away some of the hype. That is at least my personal feelings at the moment. They can still turn this baby around, but I think they took a lot of the fun out of their main event. Just to clarify, I don't hate Cena. I respect this guy for what he does and realize he busted his ass in order to be the face of the company. However, I don't like how they make Cena look like he is made of steel every single week. It just gets a little ridiculous.
Winner via submission: John Cena
I think I will let Statler and Waldorf do this part....
Okay, okay okay. That's enough. Never mind. Maybe I should handle this part. Most people thought that the Muppets would have been the reason the show was lackluster tonight, but that wasn't the case. In many ways, I felt the Muppets were the saving grace of Raw tonight. Reckon, there was a lot of missed opportunities for jokes and gags with the Muppets around. They should've had Statler and Waldorf call one of the matches (They would've been perfect for the Santino match), and were was the Swedish Chef? I can't say the Muppets were perfect because there was some hit and miss moments for the Muppets. I felt what didn't help the show was a lot of the decision making tonight. I didn't like how Cena took out Awesome Truth by himself. It's like he doesn't need the Rock and it's just an excuse for the WWE to make a quick buck. To be fair, getting more buyrates was the overall goal by WWE, since more buyrates means more money. Still, it takes a lot of the fun that could've happened for this match....at least for the moment. I didn't like the decision to have Del Rio lose cleanly. This wouldn't bother me so much if he wasn't holding onto the WWE Championship. Well, that isn't the case and it makes your champion look bad. Even though I feel Del Rio is still a generic heel, how will his stock increase by loosing? Now, he didn't look completely weak to Big Show, but it would've made more sense to have that match end in a countout. There was miscues during the divas battle royal and the Dolph/Ryder match. It almost felt like the show was sloppy and half assed tonight. Does that mean Raw was really bad this week? No, but I also can't really call this an average Raw. There was some decent action going on in the ring, so that helps. The Muppets were entertaining, and keep in mind that pro wrestling is all about entertainment, so you can't really take it so seriously. It's kinda difficult to grade this show because there was entertainment, there was decent wrestling matches, but a lot of the storylines took a step backwards tonight and might have ruined the value of Survivor Series. No matter how you look at it, building up storylines is important since you have to give people a reason to care about the characters. The Punk/Del Rio match takes a bump in a bad direction, while Cena basically showed he doesn't need the Rock since he took out Awesome Truth by himself. These were a few of the WWE's main matches going into Survivor Series, and now I can see people losing a lot of interest in this PPV. They still have two and a half weeks to build up this PPV. There is still a good chance this will be a great PPV, but they need to really focus these next couple of weeks to drive up the interest. A very mixed bag sort of evening for Raw tonight. I enjoyed a few parts of Raw, but it was a pretty lackluster show tonight. I can't fault the Muppets for their performance tonight, despite all the of IWCs bitching about how the Muppets makes WWE more of a kiddy show. Anyone who watched the Muppets growing up knows they appeal to adults just as much as kids. In fact, adults tend to get a lot more of the Muppet jokes than kids. Then again, I know this is one of those things that will get a lot of praise and backlash because IWC hates the PG era. That's going to do it for the review and I hope you enjoyed it. As always, tell me what you thought of my review or tonight's show. I will see you guys and girls on the next WrestlingNerd show, see you next time.