What up wrestling fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw on 1/30/12. After the events of the Royal Rumble, how will Raw continue the road to WrestleMania? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with John Laurinaitis. He is really laying it on thick tonight. Laurinaitis is giving out handshakes to the audience and shows appreciation to the workers. This would be an ongoing theme for the night as Laurinaitis is trying to save his job. Desperate man do desperate things. Laurinaitis says he's excited about his performance review tonight. Well, he is Mr. Excitement. He announces a few matches. The first announcement was regarding Elimination Chamber. It will be CM Punk vs Dolph Ziggler vs Miz vs Kofi Kingston vs R-Truth vs Chris Jericho in the Elimination Chamber. It will be for the WWE title. For tonight, it will be Miz vs Kofi, Dolph vs Randy Orton, and Punk vs Daniel Bryan. That was a lot of announcements. Announcements for days. Punk interrupts Roboinaitis and starts singing "Na Na Hey Kiss Him Goodbye". Punk was getting the audience and some of the workers to join along in the song. It's the WWE sing along edition. Once Punk sings in Laurinaitis' face, Laurinaitis says he deserves an apology for holding his own in calling the match down the middle at the RR. Punk says there's no way he can do that since Laurinaitis sucks and blows. Bryan actually shows up to interrupt this banter between Punk and Laurinaitis. Bryan says nobody cares about their problems and brags about how he won last night against Big Show and Mark Henry. Bryan even feels insulted that he has to go up against Punk since he considers that a cake walk compared to his match last night. Bryan adds that he's more than a wrestler, he's a role model because of his vegan lifestyle. Punk starts to make jokes and Bryan isn't happy about it. The two eventually agree to put on a solid wrestling match tonight. Just when you think it's over, Sheamus interrupts. He reminds everyone that he won the Royal Rumble and puts both world champions on notice. This was a pretty long opening. I generally don't like long openings, but it was expected since we are getting the fallout of the Royal Rumble and setting up WM. As you would've guessed, Punk and Laurinaitis are still on opposite ends. This is the WWE's odd couple. Bryan is becoming a jackass more and more each week. Sheamus' role was short, but basically informs the audience that didn't watch the PPV who won and who he will be challenging. Then again, they might have given away who Sheamus will choose as the evening progresses, but who really knows.
Match #1: Randy Orton vs Dolph Ziggler
This was a fun competitive match to start off the show. Then again, this isn't the first time we've seen this match. Wade Barrett was in the sky box getting interviewed. He talks about how he will put Orton through worse punishment than the last time. Oh no, he's going to force him to watch the High School Musical trilogy. Awwwwwwwww!!! Dolph and Orton would go back and forth for a while. The finish comes when Orton hits the RKO and wins the match cleanly. I can see some people being disappointed that Dolph lost for a second night in a row. Two times in a row. Even though Dolph is a rising star and consecutive loses can hurt the guy, Randy needed this victory based on how the scene looked on TV. Don't you think it would look pretty stupid if Dolph had cheated to win while Wade was in the sky box? If Wade was watching at ringside, then it would be a different story since Wade can get involved. Then again, that wasn't the case with this scene.
Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton
Backstage where Laurinaitis was greeting random people. He bumped into William Regal. REGAL!!! I think I'm going to turn that into a thing. Every time I see Regal on television, I will shout REGAL!!! Anyway, Big Johnny and Regal talk about Regal's son. Regal says he has two daughters and he keeps them in the attic. Laurinaitis replies by saying 5th Grade is tough. Regal is really showing father of the year potential. Watch out for this guy. Pretty hilarious scene. REGAL!!!
Match #2: Brodus Clay vs Tyler Reks
What's up with the WWE showing Naomi and Cameron doing a butt grind? I'm not complaining, but it seems like something that used to be considered a little too sexual on this show. Then again, I'm always saying that people look way too much into that little rating that shows up in the left hand of your TV screen, so let's move on. Brodus actually got beat up for a while, but he starting hulking up. Let me try that one again. He's FUNKING up and then hits What the Funk for the clean victory. What the funk is that all about?
Winner via pinfall: Brodus Clay
Backstage where Punk and Bryan are talking. It's like every indy fanboys dream. Punk says Bryan is going a little far in referring to himself as a role model since they are underdogs. This is coming from the guy who considered himself a savior and acted like he was "baptizing " people on television. I know pointing out wrestling logic gets old, but it does make you laugh sometimes. Punk talks about how people don't know what a vegan is. Bryan says a vegan is someone who doesn't eat animals and how eating meat is wrong. Bryan would fail at David Letterman's Know Your Cuts of Meat game. Bryan even goes on a rant in how people don't know what straight edge is. Punk goes on to say he doesn't consider himself a role model, he's a wrestler. Bryan's ego goes up another 100 points after tonight.
Match #3: CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan
This was a pretty damn good match. Punk and Bryan went back and fourth throughout this match. This is a match I can definitely recommend checking out. The finish comes when Chris Jericho shows up and attacks Bryan. This causes a DQ. Immediately after the ref called for the bell, Jericho gets in the ring and hits the Codebreaker on Punk. Bryan realizes what just happened, so he goes around celebrating his victory. Remember when I said WWE might have given away what Sheamus' choice could end up being? Well, this might be the reason. It appears that Jericho has finally picked his target, and it's the best in the world. One thing I like is how Jericho didn't say why he attacked Punk. Regardless, this might finally make the smarks stop complaining about Jericho losing the rumble. Then again, I really doubt it.
Winner via DQ: Daniel Bryan
Mike Tyson will be inducted in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Hooray!!! I'll take Tyson. Two NCS references in one review? I'm losing it again.
Match #4: Kofi Kingston vs Miz
R-Truth was on commentary for this match. Michael Cole keeps asking Truth questions about little Jimmy. Real top notch reporting by Michael Cole (sense the sarcasm?). I swear that Cole acts more like a color commentator than a play-by-play announcer. In other words, call the match. Oh well. This match actually surprised me. It was a pretty basic wrestling match, but I was a bit distracted by the commentary. Not saying it was bad. It was just….um…..yeah, let's leave it at that. The finish comes when Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and Kofi wins cleanly. This is kinda surprising. Kofi has a great night at the rumble, now he gets victories over former world champions? Maybe they are starting something with Kofi. I bet Kofi is saying, "Evan who?" right about now. I always thought that Kofi is a good wrestler. His mic skills and charisma need work, but it seems like he's getting a second chance. If that's the case, he really needs to make the most of it. Not too many people get a third chance.
Winner via pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Backstage where Laurinaitis is starting to get paranoid that David Otunga wants to steal his job. The lawyer is lying? Say it isn't so? Otunga says he doesn't want Laurinaitis' job and he has nothing to worry about. Well, at least he's living up to being a lawyer on this show. He just lied yet again.
Match #5: Beth Phoenix vs Eve; Divas Championship
I just realized something. This was actually the last match of the night. That would actually make this the main event. I definitely didn't see that coming. Then again, it doesn't really say much as the actual match only lasted about 20 seconds. I understand why this match had to be last, but it's still pretty silly for the divas to "main event". Then again, it was never billed as one, so it's very easily to overlook this. The deal here was Eve is still completely timid after everything that has happened to Zack Ryder. Beth hits the Glam Slam and remains champion.
Winner via pinfall and still Divas Champ: Beth Phoenix
After the match, Kane shows up on the titantron. He talks about how Ryder's mishaps are all John Cena's fault. Kane says Ryder will continue to get punished until Cena learns to embrace the hate. He says he will make an example out of her. His music goes off and Eve….just stands there. I get it. She's so scared that she can't move, but you figured she would have come up with an alternative at this point since she runs into Kane every week. Kane shows up from behind Eve. Super magic tricks make it on this show. Kane is ready to do something to her until Cena makes the save. It seems to go back and forth for a while, but Cena eventually uses the steel steps on Kane to take him down. After three steel step tackles, Cena is about to send Kane through the announcer's table. Kane gets out of the AA setup and retreats through the crowd. After Kane runs away, Cena is celebrating in typical Cena fashion. I understand what they were trying to do here, but I just didn't like how it came through. They wanted to create a scene where Cena finally snapped and just starting going ape s***. The problem I have is once Cena finally gets the upper hand on Kane, Cena is celebrating like his old self. I think it would've painted a better picture if Cena was still pissed off and he just leaves in an angry mood. It would show more of a sign that Cena is embracing the hate. To be fair, they did show Cena with more of a temper and the commentators did play it up, but I really didn't like how it came off. It just reminded me of the same old Cena that you're used to seeing. The Cena that overcomes 43,125,649 obstacles to still stand tall. If the scene was written for Cena to show more angry, than Cena did a bad job acting wise. Then again, this guy did make The Marine, so he would know a thing or two about bad acting. I also wasn't big on Kane retreating. I'm not completely out of this storyline yet, but I think they took a couple of steps backwards tonight. I'm not angry about how things went tonight. I'm just a little disappointed with how things were executed in this scene.
It's Laurinaitis' evaluation time. He makes his argument for keeping his job. Triple H finally arrives after all that build up and it's time for business. Trips says Laurinaitis was worse than some of the other people who have held this job. He also says that Laurinaitis did what everyone else before him, which is put his personal feelings into his decision making. Trips also mentions that the Board of Directors have allowed Trips to take over the show if he feels the need to step back in. Yeah, things aren't looking good for Mr. Excitement. Laurinaitis finally says he will do anything to keep his job. Trips thinks about it and says there's a lot of things he can think of. He says Laurinaitis should apologize to the WWE Universe and see if they accept his apology. As you would've guessed, the fans don't buy it. Trips says the wrestlers in the back can beat the crap out of Laurinaitis, but what's the fun in that? Trips says he wants to steal a page out of Vince McMahon's playbook and bring back an exclusive club. Yeah, older wrestling fans know where this is going. Laurinaitis actually pulls out some chap stick and gets his lips ready to actually kiss Trips' ass. Trips tells him to stop since he was just messing with him. He actually calls him a freak for even contemplating the idea. I'll admit, this was pretty hilarious. Trips says he had already made his mind up and is ready to end this. Just as he's about to fire Laurinaitis, this happens….
Interesting series of events that unfolded. It seemed like Taker was challenging Trips to a match at WM, but Trips just pats him on the shoulder and leaves. Almost saying that he isn't accepting and wants to move on. Undertaker returning was definitely something I didn't see happening tonight. Now, it seems there is a lot of people not happy about what happened here. Not because of Taker returning, but because of the thought of another Taker vs Triple H match. I would like to see Taker go up against someone else, but I am not against the idea of Trips taking another crack at the streak. I consider just about any Taker match a worthy WM match since the guy knows how to make WM interesting. It just doesn't feel like WM until Taker gets in the mix. We definitely have more questions left unanswered tonight. Will Triple H accept the challenge? Will Taker find another opponent to go up against? Is Laurinaitis fired or does he still have his job? This is what I like to see. Lots of questions being unanswered, meaning you're going to have to tune in next week to find out some of those answers. It's classic build up. I definitely liked the scene since I have always been a big Taker fan and I enjoy seeing him make his appearances. Either way, we will see what happens as the WWE move forward. By the way, Taker's hair was freaking me out. I've heard reports that he shaved it off, so it's very likely he was wearing a wig. That might have been the scariest thing all night. And when you have Roboinaitis ready to kiss man ass on television, that's saying something.
Raw was again pretty good tonight. Lots of build up for future events and there was some pretty good wrestling matches in the mix. Not quite as great as last week, but this was still a good show to watch. The promos/segments were pretty interesting this week and they seem to be starting the build up of WM. We walk out of tonight with a lot of unanswered questions, which I feel is a good thing since it leaves you wanting to come back for next week. We even have unanswered questions regarding Jericho's attack and Cena's bad acting. Overall, I enjoyed tonight's show and I can definitely recommend this show. With Taker returning, you know we are coming up near WM time. 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.