What up wrestling fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw on 11/14/11. With the Rock set to return tonight, how will this effect tonight and Survivor Series? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with Michael Cole. He talks about how Jim Ross decided to show up and it's time for the Michael Cole Challenge. Quick, hit the DVR button!!! He continues to make fat jokes regarding JR. The rules to the Michael Cole Challenge work like this. JR has to win three separate challenges from Cole. If JR wins all of them, he gets his job back on commentary and Cole quits. The first challenge was an arm wrestling contest. JR actually beats Cole in about a second. Cole makes an excuse that JR's breathe is awful. The second challenge is a dance off. Cole dances as if he was getting mauled by a tiger. JR on the other hand.....what's the best way to describe it? I would say it was disturbingly awesome. Anyway, the fans definitely vote for JR on this one, so just one more to go. Cole finally unveils the third challenge and continues to show why is the most hated villain in the WWE. The third is a "who weights less" competition. They both get on a scale. As you would've guessed, Cole wins as JR is 39 pounds heavier. It was actually a lot close than I thought. So, as Cole is gloating about "winning" the challenge, CM Punk interrupts. Punk in many ways breaks the fourth wall, but what else is new? He basically says the Michael Cole challenge was complete bulls*** and it was just a waste of time. Glad to see SOMEONE is at least self aware of what's going on at the moment. He says Cole's 15 minutes are up and wants him to leave forever. Punk also claims he will become WWE champion and it's people like Cole. Laurinaitis and Del Rio that are making this show suck. John Laurinaitis shows up and says his 38,000 twitter followers didn't want the Michael Cole challenged to be interrupted and now he's disappointed with Punk. Punk counter argues by saying screw you and your 38,000 followers. I didn't know David Otunga created 38,000 twitter accounts? Moving along, Laurinaitis says it will be Punk and Big Show vs Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry later tonight. Cole is laughing at Punk and demands an apology, while Punk is smiling at the camera. Punk gives a flinching headbutt (It didn't look like he hit the headbutt. Either Cole just fell to the ground, or Punk defies the laws of physics). As Cole is on the ground, Punk locks in the Anaconda Vice and Cole is crying like a little girl. The scene ends with Punk laughing as he says "I'm sorry". Well, I really didn't like the Michael Cole challenge. It was just another excuse to embarrass JR, but at least it wasn't as bad as say the time JR had to kiss Vince McMahon's ass. The scene didn't serve any purpose for the show and was just an excuse for Cole to get a microphone in his hand, but at least the WWE is self aware. With Punk going out there and saying it was a waste of time, WWE was basically admitting this entire Cole/JR thing didn't serve a purpose. Again, with all the stuff JR has gone through in his career, he doesn't get enough credit. I did enjoy what Punk had to say out there. In many ways, he actually made this scene entertaining. In other words, not a great segment, but Punk makes it tolerable. In Punk we trust.
There was a backstage scene where Matt Striker was anticipating the arrival of the Rock. A limo arrives, but it turns out to be Mick Foley. Striker wonders what Mick is doing here. Isn't it obvious? He's finally out of Hulk Hogan's Circus and is back with the WWE. Cue angry TNA fanboys in 3.....2.....1....now. Mick says he wants to talk about Rock and John Cena later tonight.
Match #1: Sin Cara and Kofi Kingston vs Cody Rhodes and Hunico
JR was doing commentary for this match since Cole was taken out with the Anaconda Vice. Rhodes is no longer wearing the mask and even comes out to new entrance music. He cut a short video in how this is a new age for Rhodes or something like that. I am just glad he is no longer wearing the plastic mask and giving people a Redead mask. This was a pretty short match. The finish comes when Rhodes hits Cross Rhodes on Kofi for the clean victory. The booking made sense since Rhodes is starting a new character and needs to build his stock back up. I hope that once Survivor Series is over, Rhodes actually starts defending that IC title.
Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes and Hunico
Short backstage scene in which Santino and Zack Ryder are arguing over who is better, Rock or Cena. This eventually leads to Santino signing Ryder's petition for a US title match. I guess Laurinaitis didn't bother to check out what his 38,000 twitter followers are saying in regards to Ryder getting a title match?
Match #2: Dolph Ziggler vs Mason Ryan
Vickie Guerrero talked about how Christian will not be able to compete because of an injury he got during the European tour. She also blames Teddy Long for Christian getting injured. Since Team Barrett is in need of a replacement, Dolph will be taking the slot. I wouldn't be surprised if the plan was for Dolph to defend the US title against Ryder at the PPV, but plans change because of injury. I think this made the most sense, but I can see people saying why not put in Brodus Clay in this match? Well, since these type of matches favors the good guys (Not always, but the track record points in the direction to the face), it would be kinda stupid to have Brodus make his long awaited debut in a match he ends up losing in. It would totally take the hype out of Brodus' character. Dolph is a fine substitute, but there is still a low number of matches for this PPV. They will definitely need to address that as they film Smackdown later this week. By the way, Dolph continues to show improvement on the mic. He seems more and more comfortable with the mic every week. The match didn't last long. Mason was dominating until Vickie slaps him in the face and the ref calls for the bell. After the match, Dolph is running away until John Morrison shows up and tosses Dolph back in the ring. Mason hits a Full Nelson Slam to end the segment. Kinda odd that Morrison showed up, but as I mentioned last week, they might be trying something with Morrison...again. Just have to wait and see how things go. By the way, Cole is now back on commentary as Laurinaitis took JR out of the building. That makes an already pointless segment even more pointless. Is it Monday or Thursday night?
Winner via DQ: Mason Ryan
There was a short backstage scene of Mick signing Ryder's petition. I wonder if Foley is having TNA flashbacks by interacting with Ryder? Hmm.....probably not.
We finally begin the second hour of the three hour show with Mick. He talks about being back in the WWE and how it feels great. He talks about Rock and Cena and even though people don't like Cena, he thinks Cena is one of the best performers ever. He also realizes that Rock and Cena need to work together and get on the same page, so he has his work cut out for him. He wants Cena to come out. John appreciates what Mick is trying to do, but it won't work since Rock and Cena don't need to work together to beat Awesome Truth. This is when Mick does a "This is your life" for Cena. Oh.....let the torment being. They show baby pictures of Cena. I want to know how in the world did Mick get a hold of baby pictures of Cena? I hear a large amount of wrestling logic blowing through that window. I think Cena said the most appropriate phrase in "I don't think this is a good idea". They invite Cena's little league coach, Bull Buchanon (Cena's rapper lacky during his Marky Mark phase), and even Cena's father. Needless to say, this segment was bombing. It was like watching a really bad high school play. You want it to end, but they have to keep going for the purpose of the play. Damn, where's the Song of Time when you need it? You can even tell that Cena wasn't enjoying it. Even he knew this was a bomb. Cena wants this all to be over, but Mick has one more guest. The Rock interrupts the segment and hits Rock Bottom on Mick...
I've never been much of a fan of these "This is your life" segments. When they did it the first time with the Rock, it worked so well. Even since then, these segments have turned into terrible substitute teachers. To be fair, I think it was intended for this segment to be bad. At least I HOPE that's the reasoning behind this. The only reason I say that is because everyone on the show was talking about how this segment was horrible. I'm trying to look at this and see something I like.....and I can't find anything. Let's just move on....
Match #3: Sheamus vs Jack Swagger
This was alright match to watch. It wasn't anything special, but I enjoyed it for what it was worth. The finish comes when Sheamus counters the Ankle Lock and hits the Brogue Kick for the clean win. By they way, did King just say he has a Justin Bieber T-shirt? Considering how Bieber already sounds like a girl, I can actually buy that.
Winner via pinfall: Sheamus
Another backstage scene of Ryder getting more petition signatures. This time, he gets the Bellas to sign it. Del Rio gets in the picture and the Bellas are instantly all over Del Rio. They must have a thing for rich and boring men. Anyway, they try to get into his pants while Del Rio talks about beating Punk at Survivor Series and throwing a party. Ryder comes in and says they should all party with him....
Match #4: Kelly Kelly vs Natalya
The match was a joke. I don't even think it lasted 30 seconds. Kelly counters Shapeshooter with her devastating finisher.....the roll up. You think for her trained wrestling background, Natalya would be able to deal with things like roll ups. Again, wrestling logic can be a bitch.
Winner via pinfall: Kelly Kelly
Backstage where Laurinaitis is on the phone with Brodus. He says his debut will NOT happen tonight because he doesn't want Brodus to be overshadowed by the Rock. You know, he actually has a point there. Del Rio interrupts and talks about some magazine, while Laurinaitis is concerned that Punk has been overshadowing Del Rio during this rivalry and he wants Del Rio to step it up because he doesn't want Punk to win the title. Del Rio talks about the attack from last week and how he will be champion for a long time. Remember the last time Del Rio said something along these lines? I think it was when he dropped the title at Night of Champions. Well, maybe that's good news for Punk. A backstage interview with Awesome Truth. They don't answer any of Striker's fanboy questions, so they leave. Such a riveting interview. Watch out, Bryant Gumbel. There was also a quick scene in which Del Rio attacked Punk in the back. He mainly focused on the shoulder of Punk. Officials arrive to stop the attack. Damn, those spider senses are complete bulls***.
Match #5: CM Punk and Big Show vs Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry
Punk is out there selling the Del Rio attack. This sadly might have been the best match of the night....and that's not saying much. The finish comes when Henry hits World's Strongest Slam on Punk. Show tackles Henry out of the ring, which allows Del Rio to pick the bones for the victory. After the match, Del Rio continues to punish Punk by locking in Cross Armbreaker. Show arrives to save Punk, but Del Rio retreats. There seems to be more fire in the eyes of Del Rio after tonight. This does make the WWE Championship match a little more exciting. This also adds something for Henry and Show. While the match was lackluster, the story for both world title matches was told very well tonight. That does make the title matches a little more intriguing.
Winner via pinfall: Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry
Santino is in the ring and talks about taking his career seriously and becoming a champion...
After you are literally done laughing your ass off, Kevin Nash interrupts. He says he's a big fan of Santino's air trombone. Santino takes the bait, which leads to him getting his head kicked off. Nash talks about how he got this big reaction at the Royal Rumble and still wanted to go, but Triple H was holding him back. Nash ends the scene by hitting Jackknife on Santino. This was basically an abridged version of what Nash talked about last week. It wasn't as strong as last week. I think Nash vs Triple H will end up happening at TLC, since that seems to be the best course of action. Despite very little development between the Nash/Trips storyline tonight, I still find it interesting. Not sure why that is.
Match #6: Wade Barrett vs Randy Orton
Both teams were standing in their captain's corner for this match. The match didn't last too long. Definitely a downgrade to the Barrett/Orton match that happened on last week's SD. The finish comes when Orton is setting up for RKO, but Cody interferes. This causes a DQ. After the match, all the team members are fighting at one time. Hunico ends up being the last one left in the ring for Team Barrett as the rest are on the outside. Randy hits RKO on Hunico, and Mason throws Hunico towards Team Barrett. Just a lot more build up for the Survivor Series match. It seems pretty interesting, but it is getting overshadowed by all the other matches that don't involve Rock and Cena. We are finally coming to the final segment of the night.
Winner via DQ: Randy Orton
Time for the Rock to make this appearance. Rock talks about how his day went, his Survivor Series match, and boots to asses. I have to admit, a boots to asses chant did get a chuckle out of me. Awesome Truth interrupts. Miz and R-Truth talk down to Rock until Cena shows up. Cena and Rock start exchanging insults at one another until Miz says he has had enough. Miz says he is sick of this show being all about Rock and Cena and they aren't gonna take it anymore. This starts a fight between the two teams. Rock hits Rock Bottom on Truth. Cena is about to hit Miz with AA, but Miz escapes, only to walk into a Rock Bottom. The Rock leaves the ring while Cena is a little stunned. The show ends with Rock and Cena trading more insults. So, I will admit, the Rock being live on TV adds so much more to the show as opposed to a pre-recording or a via satellite segment. You can just feel the energy the Rock brings. I enjoyed what this segment brought to the table, but it might've been the most entertaining thing this entire night has featured. I like the whitty comebacks Rock and Cena exchanged at one another. This does make the intrigue for the tag team match at Survivor Series go up.....to a degree. Right now, I guess my main problem is it looks like Miz and Truth are just going to be Rock and Cena's bitch at SS. They will put up a fight for a decent amount of time, but when it's time to end the PPV, Rock and Cena will start hitting finishing moves left and right so they can one up each other. I can see it now. Cena hits a top rope legdrop, Rock hits Rock Bottom. Cena hits AA, Rock hits People's Elbow. Cena locks in STF, Rock locks in Sharpshooter. In the meantime, Miz and Truth need an ambulance for the ass whipping they are going to receive. In many ways, this makes the main event at SS a filler match since they are most likely going to continue the build up for Rock vs Cena at WM 28. Now, it's entirely possible that Rock and Cena argue during the match, which allows Miz and Truth to steal one. I don't know. I guess I am just not too fond of the idea of Awesome Truth getting destroyed like that. They spent a great deal of time with Awesome Truth. From getting "fired", running a muck, and getting rehired. WWE is definitely things with Miz and Truth. It would seem like a waste to just throw them out there as bait for Rock and Cena. Of course....things have been set up for Cena to turn heel. I just have this hard time buying the WWE actually going through with a Cena heel turn. In many ways, I don't see the point of turning Cena heel when this guy gets as much boos as Michael Cole on a weekly basis. He really is the New York Yankees of this show. People love him and/or respect him, but there is just a ton of people that hate him. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if WWE is doing all of this to work the IWC. Why? Because the IWC has been begging for a Cena heel turn for years. While I think it would make for very interesting TV, I just don't think WWE has the confidence to actually go through with it. Then again, with CM Punk going over extremely well as a face, maybe a Cena heel turn is better now than it has looked for years? Well, with the way WWE has built up this main event and based off my own thoughts, I guess the main event is worth checking out? Then again, I wouldn't set your hopes too high for a Cena heel turn, but anything can happen in the WWE.
I have to be honest. Tonight's show really went slow. Last week's Raw was decent to watch, but I can't say the same for tonight's show. There was just a lot of stuff that really didn't make it "must see" TV. The opening wasn't anything great until Punk showed up to make it interesting. None of the matches were really worthwhile. Then again, I kinda expected that since they will save the better wrestling quality for Survivor Series. Still, it would've been nice to get a couple of matches that are worth a second look. Oh, and let's not forget the "This is your life" bit. That was painful to watch. This might've been one of the most boring episodes of Raw I have seen in a while. The ONLY thing that made the evening worthwhile was the final bit. I really liked the delivery and build up between Rock/Cena and Awesome Truth. They built up the match like the main event it has been labeled, and it might make for a couple of surprises. Then again, there can also be some disappointment to witness with the match, but we will wait and see what happens at Survivor Series. I really can't recommend Raw tonight. The show moved really slow tonight. Based on my history, when a show moves slow, it doesn't make it great. If time flies when you're watching wrestling, it generally means there is enough interest in the show. That "This is you life" segment seemed to last for over an hour, but it only lasted for around 20 minutes. Still....despite all of that, I really liked how the show ended. I think the ending made it worthwhile, but I still can't recommend the whole show. Just watch the last 20-25 minutes and I think you will be plenty satisfied with Raw for this week. If you wanted to be disappointed, you can put yourself through an endurance test and try to watch the entire show, but I do offer caution. 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.
Special Announcement for Legend of Zelda fans:
Oh goodie, I FINALLY get to talk about this. As most Zelda fans are aware, Skyward Sword comes out later this week. Being a pretty big fan of the series, I have been working on a special article to show my appreciation for the Zelda franchise. I know some people will be a little off put by this since I have only talked about pro wrestling, but who cares? Well, I think it is finally time for a small change. Since I am a Zelda fan, I put together my Top 20 Legend of Zelda Theme Songs. I will say upfront, putting this list together wasn't easy since there is tons of great music from the series. On Wednesday evening, I will release Part one of the Top 20 list. Be sure to check it out all this week. Why? Because it's Zelda....see you then.