What up wrestling fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw 12/19/11. With TLC over and done with, how will the company continue as 2011 ends in two weeks? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with…..the Conan O'Brien show? There was a drum roll and everything was dark except for the titantron. CM Punk was talking from behind the curtain, mentions how much of a tool John Laurinaitis is, and introduces the winner of the TLC match from last night. Yeah, so Punk did his own introduction. Maybe Punk's ego is out of control, but would you want it any other way? Punk makes his way to a loud ovation from the Philly audience. I think Punk was definitely the favorite for tonight's audience. Punk introduces the new US Champion, Zack Ryder. Once Ryder is in the ring, Punk introduces Daniel Bryan as the new WHC. It was at this point that I realize what is WWE paying Justin Roberts to do? Yeah, it's only a joke. Punk talks about how it was unthinkable that two Indy/ROH guys like Punk and Bryan Danielson managed to both break into the WWE and get the world titles. As I mentioned in the TLC review, I never thought it would happen, but I guess that's why they say anything can happen in the WWE. Punk says this moment isn't about himself and wants to let these guys talk. Ryder says the typical "woo woo woo" stuff while Bryan talks about how he never thought he would make it in the WWE. Despite the Coleritics, Bryan did managed to make it in the WWE and win the big one. Bryan had more to say, but Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and Alberto Del Rio are on the entrance ramp and start to head towards the ring. They are ready to attack, but the good guys hold their own. There was a point where Ryder did a springboard splash from the top rope. He got beaten up, but Punk and Bryan where there to make the save. Just as the heels are running away like chicken s***s, Roboinaitis arrives. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Mr. Excitement. Laurinaitis says it will be Punk, Ryder, and Bryan vs Miz, Dolph, and Del Rio for tonight. Laurinaitis says this is his Christmas present to the WWE Universe. Hey, I thought robots were incapable of showing emotion? Regardless, I like this idea of a match. I think some people might have been upset with how long this opening dragged out, but I think WWE wanted for Bryan and Ryder to have their moment to reflect on what they accomplished. It's funny because there was a point where all three guys were not sitting pretty in this company, but it just goes to show you that things can change when you stick around long enough and work for it.
Match #1: Randy Orton vs Wade Barrett
I was a little puzzled as to why they did this match again. Especially considering that we saw this match last night on the PPV, but this isn't the first time a scene like this has played out. The match was okay to watch, but you're not missing a whole lot until you get to the end. The finish comes when Wade does a clear poke to the eye on Orton, thus causing a DQ since the referee clearly saw it. After the match, Wade hits Winds of Change on Orton (power side slam). Wade gets a table propped up in the ring and sends Orton through the table with Waste Land. Well, they did try to get Wade's stock back up after losing last night. Based on this booking decision, it seems WWE is pretty committed to Wade going far in this company. At this point, Wade is a shoe-in to become world champion in 2012. It's possible that Wade/Orton continue their little rivalry, but they probably should get this out of the way before the Royal Rumble.
Winner via DQ: Randy Orton
Match #2: Beth Phoenix vs Alicia Fox
Let me ask a question. How do you make your champion look completely pathetic? Well, making them lose cleanly is one way, but losing cleanly in under two minutes adds more salt to the wound. As you would've guessed, Beth lost cleanly in a matter of seconds when Alicia hit her finisher for the clean victory. I don't like this decision, but I understand why they did it. They have been trying something with Alicia for a while and it does seem like they will be setting her up to become the #1 Contender, but it kinda takes the suspension out of that title match when she beats the champ in under two minutes. Yeah, not a great idea by WWE. Dare I say, a roll up victory would've made more sense since it wouldn't make your champ look this bad. Well, what's done is done.
Winner via pinfall: Alicia Fox
Match #3: Sheamus vs Jinder Mahal
Once again, Sheamus goes out there to destroy a jobber. Sheamus wins this match with the Celtic Cross for the clean victory. While Sheamus is doing very well in terms of fan reaction, he needs a real rival/program. There's only so much you can gain by beating up on jobbers for the past month. Hopefully, they find something way more meaningful for him, because he needs it. I like how the commentators tried to make Jinder look like a tough opponent. They were laying it on pretty thick since Jinder hasn't done a meaningful thing all year long. There are piles of dog crap that have made a bigger impact than Jinder.
Winner via pinfall: Sheamus
We open up the second hour of Raw with John Cena. He mainly talks about Kane attacking him on last week's show. He claims that he has no problem with Kane, but Kane shouldn't get in his way since he will take care of him if it comes to it. Mark Henry strangely interrupts. Henry is wearing a boot on his leg since we need to sell the injury, even though the real injury is a groin pull. So, we have a wrestler selling a kayfabe injury on the show, but not showing the real injury? Try wrapping your head around that? By the way, who the hell thought we would hear a "sexual chocolate" chant tonight? Once again, anything can happen in the WWE. It made the scene even more funny when Henry said he isn't here to joke around. Henry talks about wanting to get his WHC title back and how he had Cena last week. Henry says he isn't in the mood, so Cena needs to leaves. Just as the tension is rising, the pyro goes off and Kane has arrived. Once again, Kane is wearing two masks. He has that predator mask to start off, then he has the Kane mask. Kane arrives and looks at both guys. It appears he was going to deal with Henry, but passes up on him and goes right after Cena. John starts to attack the monster, but Kane is just too much as he gets Cena and pushes him towards the announcer's desk. He starts to choke him out with his hand over his mouth. Cena actually showed some blood in his mouth. Either that's real, or Cena chewed a blood capsule before Kane grabbed him. Kane leaves as Cena doesn't seem to have an answer for Kane. So, they are definitely going with a Cena/Kane rivalry. As I mentioned on last week's Raw review; the idea is interesting, but very tricky. Cena is the face of the company and he needs to make himself look strong as he goes up against the Rock. Then you have Kane re-debuting as a original monster and it would be pretty idiotic to bring Kane back and have him lose to Cena. In a way, it seems WWE wrote themselves into a corner for this rivalry. There are a few ways around it (DQ, countout, weapons, ect), but it makes it kinda silly to have Kane jump back into a rivalry with Cena. It's almost like WWE is having Kane bite off more than he can chew. Still, it's an interesting idea. It will be most interesting to see what they do when it comes down to winning and losing. By the way, why did he rip apart Cena's shirt and take it? You know what, I'd rather not know.
Match #4: Usos vs Primo and Epico
I really enjoyed this match. It might have been short, but it was a lot of fun. I really like the Usos. I wish they would use them more. In a way, I would think this extra exposure for the tag teams is a sign they will continue to build up tag team wrestling and make it fun again. Then again, who really knows? The finish comes when the Puerto Rican Express is able to steal this match over the Usos. The victory shows that Primo and Epico will get some type of build up and set up a rematch between them and Air Boom. In fact, Air Boom was watching this match in the back. Well, at least the tag teams in WWE are getting a little more interesting. By the way, did anyone catch the part where King called Primo or Epico, Carlito? If that's the case, Epico must not be very epic since the commentators are thinking of their relatives as opposed to them.
Winner via pinfall: Primo and Epico
Match #5: Cody Rhodes vs Santino
There was a backstage scene between Rhodes and Santino. There was some mention of the Royal Rumble while Santino has a gift for Cody, the Christmas Cobra…
Well, THAT would be a sight. The match is what you would expect. Very short and Rhodes winning with the Alabama Slam. Are you really surprised? There was no mention of Booker T tonight. I guess they will save that up for Smackdown this week.
Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Backstage where the Bellas argue towards Laurinaitis over Teddy Long's comments at TLC. To be fair, Teddy only wanted to play some reindeer games. Laurinaitis says he will deal with Teddy as the WWE is watching his actions. They kiss Laurinaitis on the cheek and leave. Did WWE ever go anywhere with the Bellas winning that free kiss on that Holiday edition of SD? Anyway, Vickie Guerrero arrives and wants Dolph to get a rematch for the US title. Hornswoggle arrives and has a mistletoe. He ends up kissing Vickie. Everyone leaves as Vickie is screaming. Maybe they are after her Lucky Charms? Yeah, that was a bad joke. I apologize. There was a backstage scene in which Big Show was getting interviewed by Josh Matthews. He talks about winning the world title for the first time in nine years and how it felt wonderful, but Daniel cashed in the MITB on him and his dream went up in smoke. Show is trying to be all nice about this since he was the one who tempted Bryan to cash-in the MITB before WM, but is hiding his emotions. Josh ask there is no way Show can be so nice about this, considering he ended up having the shortest world title reign in the history of WWE. Why do I get the feeling TNA is going to find a way to break that record? Anyway, Show starts to get angry at Matthews and eventually just leaves. Even more evidence for Show to turn heel. I know I should feel bad for Show, but I'm really not. Show doesn't need world title reigns at this point of his career, so I was fine with a 45 second title reign. I know, that's cruel. Now, I'll give Show some credit since he told a good story and delivered a convincing promo. Have you ever seen a giant cry? Well, outside of Disney films, I don't think so.
Match #6: Miz, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio vs CM Punk, Zack Ryder, and Daniel Bryan
Another cryptic video. Once again, I'm not going to talk about this since I want to save it for another day. Punk, Ryder, and Bryan enter in through the audience, which happens from time to time in the Indys. Hey, Philly loves their Indy wrestling, that's for damn sure. I thought this match was a lot of fun. This match really showed off more what the good guys are capable of doing as opposed to the bad guys, but the heels didn't look that bad. Overall, a pretty fun match. The finish comes with all hell breaks loose and it's down to Del Rio and Bryan. Daniel locks in the Le Bell lock and gets Del Rio to tap out. Wow, I didn't see that coming. Bryan definitely needed this victory more than the other two since Punk and Ryder actually won their titles, while Bryan used the old MITB trick to get his title. This shows a number of things. It those that maybe WWE is going to embrace the idea of Bryan being the champ. Again, I don't see it as a longterm title reign, but it can be an interesting one if done right. It also shows that maybe WWE is losing interest in Del Rio. Keep in mind that they could've had Miz take the pinfall (it was set up for it once Punk hit the GTS on Miz), but didn't since he's most likely the #1 Contender to the WWE title. They didn't want Dolph to lose again since they have been prepping him to eventually make a case to join in the main event, and losing on back to back nights wouldn't be the best idea. If WWE is starting to de-push Del Rio, I honestly can't blame them. WWE has invest so much time and money into Del Rio's character and it hasn't gotten over very well. The man knows how to talk and wrestle, but never has anything interesting to talk about. He's just boring. In fact, the best part of Del Rio is listening to Ricardo Rodriguez's in-ring introduction on a weekly basis. Del Rio might be a cross between Eddie Guerrero and JBL, but he's nowhere near their leagues. Those guys had personality and proved to be great champions. Del Rio hasn't, end of discussion.
Winner via submission: Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Zack Ryder
Compared to TLC, it was a letdown. Then again, the PPV and the free television are graded differently. Why the hell did I even bring that up? I thought tonight's show was not too bad. I didn't consider it a classic, but it did have it's moments. What made the show was Punk and crew. The opening was fair and their main event match was fun to watch. The tag match was fair and the Cena/Kane confrontation was okay. This might be considered an average episode of Raw, but I enjoyed it for some reason. In some ways, it was kind of a filler show. There wasn't a ton of new stuff or new rivalries. There was build up for things that were already established, like Kane and Big Show. Still, in terms of a filler show, this was okay and entertaining. Part of me thinks WWE will be running on filler for the next couple of weeks since they could be saving some stuff for the start of 2012. Which kinda makes sense since this is the holiday season and casual fans might not be able to check out the show. Then again, it isn't 100% filler since there is character development for certain people. Still, I liked tonight's show. It just shows that filler can be entertaining at times. Yeah, so mostly an average night for the WWE. It will be interesting to find out what happens on SD this past week, since there is a few things to address on the blue brand. 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.