What up wrestling fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw 1/23/12. What madness will happen this week? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with CM Punk. He talks about his Royal Rumble match and how John Laurinaitis is a failure. Since Punk now knows Laurinaitis' intentions, he plans to even the odds by breaking both of Laurinaitis' arms. Silly Punk, you can't break a robot's arms. That's just crazy talk. Punk says he wants Laurinaitis to be a man and say he will screw him over to his face. Instead of Laurinaitis, John Cena arrives. Yeah…that would be the wrong John. Cena says he is sick of Punk talking and he has something to say. He wants to challenge Kane tonight and brings up how Zack Ryder was screwed over. He also demands for Laurinaitis to give Ryder a US Championship match. Well, Laurinaitis finally arrives on the entrance ramp and says he meant what he said last week and announces a few matches. It will be Ryder vs Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Yeah, that won't be a slaughterfest. It will also be Punk and Cena vs Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. That match will begin immediately. Ziggler and Swagger cut come pre-match promos. Dolph does well while Swagger….um…yeah. Not sure what Swagger means by telling Cena is the dead meath. Swagger never learned the definition of enunciate. I know, he was trying to say dead meat. Suffering succotash!!! The opening was pretty basic as it sets up the action for tonight's show and continues to dive into Raw's two major storylines. More and more each week, we are seeing the transition that Laurinaitis is completely out of control and loves to play favorites. We will see what Roboinaitis has in store for later tonight.
Match #1: CM Punk and John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
This wasn't a bad little match to open up the action portion of the evening. It wasn't a long match, but it was tolerable. Laurinaitis was watching this match by the commentators. The finish comes when Cena is taking care of Swagger on the outside of the ring. The referee is in the corner dealing with the madness on the outside of the ring. In the meantime, Punk has just Falcon Kicked Ziggler's head off and is about to go for the Flying Elbow. He pushes the referee out of the way so he can set himself up for the attack. Laurinaitis sees this and is unhappy with Punk's attitude. He argues with him on the ropes. Punk actually got a couple of strikes on Laurinaitis until Dolph gets a roll up victory. Dolph also grabbed the tights, thus stating he cheated in order to win. After the match, Punk is once again pissed off at Laurinaitis and all his meddling. He challenges the interim Raw GM to a match for tonight. Laurinaitis thinks about it and accepts. The resident robot on this show is really starting to get out of control these days. As for how the match ended, I am fine with it. It gives Dolph some momentum going into the title match and adds fuel between Punk and Laurinaitis.
Winner via pinfall: Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
Time for the Chris Jericho Highlight Reel. I once again notice more boos for Jericho than the cheers he was getting a few weeks ago. This shows that the audience dislikes Jericho because of his actions. Hmm….sounds like things a bad guy does. Anyway, Jericho once again plays to the crowd. He even pulls out the big guns and busts out the T-shirt shooter. He is about the launch it, but declines. He plays a video in the Jeritron 6000…..or at least that's what it was called the last time Jericho did this bit. Maybe it's the Jeritron 7000 with Blue Ray Player? He shows a montage of himself and his WWE/F career. After all the Jeritrolling he has done for the last few weeks, he finally speaks. Jericho said, "At the Royal Rumble, it will be the end of the world as you know it". It was also announced that Jericho will be competing in the 30 Man Royal Rumble match. We will definitely be getting some answers as to what are Jericho's intentions this Sunday. As for my thoughts on the Royal Rumble match, check back in later in the week where I will do a Royal Rumble Rundown. I will hopefully have that out by Saturday. Shameless plug on my own material. I have jumped the shark.
Backstage scene where we seen Zack Ryder, Eve, and Mick Foley. Worst three-way ever. Foley gives tips on fighting Kane…..if that's what you want to call it. It's dangerous to go alone, so take nothing? What an asshole. Once Foley leaves, Eve expresses concern for Ryder. Zack says he doesn't want to back down from this challenge. I forgot to mention in the intro that Laurinaitis added a stipulation to the Ryder/Kane match. If Cena interferes in the match, Ryder will never get a US title match. Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and *punch", sorry. Cena arrives in the scene and says he wants to help out Ryder, but Ryder tells him to not get involved because he doesn't want to lose his US title opportunity. Somebody really hates Ryder to put him through this madness.
Ryder had no chance in hell of winning this match. He still has some taped up ribs, so he's still selling the rib injury. Ryder continues to show his toughness by kicking out of a few pinfalls. He really hasn't learned his lesson. Did anyone see Big Show in the audience? Seriously, go watch this match again and try to spot him in the crowd. Eve showed up in the middle of this match since she is concerned for her potential boyfriend. This match ends when Kane Chokeslams Ryder through the entrance ramp. Oh, the humanity. The match at this point is basically called off since Ryder isn't moving. Kane turns his attention to Eve, but Cena arrives on the entrance ramp. Kane runs through the audience as Cena and Eve check up on Ryder. Back from a commercial break and Ryder is being loaded onto a stretcher. He hasn't moved once since this happened. So, I guess that means no Z Long Island True Story this week? As Ryder is being loaded in the ambulance, Eve says that all of this is Cena's fault. She leaves in the ambulance while Josh Matthews arrives for a Cena interview. Matthews really does arrive at the wrong moments. Cena knocks the mic away and Matthews runs away. Cena is scene very pissed off, almost as if he's angry. This would be the moment where Emperor Palpatine would say "Good……Good". Anyway, it seems that Kane's handy work has been working since Cena is starting to show some signs of embracing the hate. It makes the match at the Royal Rumble really interesting. I would give my thoughts on the match, but I got to save something for the Rundown. Now, it would be announced later in the show that Ryder got a broken back. Seems like a hefty injury. Most of this storyline has more to do with Cena than it does Ryder, but I imagine that this will have a effect in Ryder's character. It's amazing how the IWC is already talking about this injury is too excessive and how this means Ryder is getting a de-push. One of the IWC's flaws is really just over analyzing the situation and jumping to conclusions after one scene. Is a "broken back" a little much? Probably, but we also don't know the full facts, so it's a little soon to be jumping all over this. Maybe Ryder got a real injury? Maybe Ryder pissed somebody off? Maybe WWE is going to repackage Ryder into a more serious character? Hey, it isn't like he can use it. I like Ryder, but his character is way too goofy and you can't take him seriously. Maybe this time away can be a good thing for him? It could be a wellness policy violation, but I still think it's a little soon to throw the book at WWE for announcing a broken back. I would think they have a good reason for announcing this, but I don't know since I am just a silly nerd who reviews stuff and I have no inside knowledge, nor have I ever claimed to have inside sources. It's their product, so they can do whatever the hell they want with it. Either way, Ryder will be out for some time while Cena is going over the edge. Seems like things are getting interesting.
Match #3: Sheamus vs Jinder Mahal
After witnessing first degree murder on this show, time to cheer everyone up with a silly man wearing a turban. Wade Barrett arrives on commentary for this match. He talks about Randy Orton's return to Smackdown this Friday night. You would think for a Orton return that they would keep things more secretive, don't you think? I don't know, but I'm not a fan of how they planned this. It can still be a good thing, but the element of surprise is ruined….despite how rumors and spoilers just pop up on the internet these days. This was a short match and it ended with a Sheamus Brogue Kick. After the match, Sheamus wants Wade in the ring, but he declines in typical bad guy fashion. Sheamus also talks about how he will win the Royal Rumble. The funny thing about the rumble is everyone says they will win. That makes 29 people liars and 1 person legit. Yeah….think about that?
Winner via pinfall: Sheamus
Backstage where Miz talks about being #1. Hello, I'm #2. Anyway, R-Truth arrives and says he's part of the market research team. He clarifies that Miz is #1 in being a jackass. Laurinaitis interrupts and says he's sick of them bitching, so he adds a stipulation. The loser of the Miz/Truth match will be the #1 entrant in the Royal Rumble. By the way, some people might be aware that there are two people who have been the #1 entrant and have won the rumble, but also notice how WWE didn't say the names. Well, that's because one of the names was Chris Benoit. The other person was Shawn Michaels. Benoit is still getting the "no name" treatment. Hooray for more random facts!!!
Match #4: Brodus Clay vs Heath Slater
William Regal was on commentary for this match. Regal is being used in the company? Well, it's about time. Regal is awesome. I….just wanted to say that. Why? Because I'm insane. Regal is talking about how he should've won the dance competition on SD last week. He talks about how Brodus' dancing looks like a Walrus giving birth. I didn't realize Regal hung out at the zoo? Brodus hits Funk It and Funky Kong continues to win matches. I think they are setting something up between Regal and Brodus. It could be interesting if done right. My bad.
Winner via pinfall: Brodus Clay
Match #5: Miz vs R-Truth
One of the reasons I haven't said much about the Miz/Truth rivalry is I just don't find myself interested in it. Something about this rivalry doesn't seem to click. I think both characters have taken many steps back since Miz's stock continues to fall and I really prefer Truth's heel character. It just seems like he's latching himself to the fans too fast, which does come off as forcing us to like the character. Some people might like it, but something about it doesn't sit right with me. The match was pretty decent, but nothing amazing. The finish comes when Truth hits the Facebuster and wins the match. That means Miz will be the #1 entrant in the Royal Rumble. I will go ahead and say now that I don't think Miz has any chance of winning the rumble, regardless of what entrant he was going to be prior to this.
Winner via pinfall: R-Truth
Laurinaitis wearing a kimono….so many lolz…..lolz for days. I don't know about you, but I like Laurinaitis as a on-screen character. He should have his own sitcom. So….Master Splinter is preparing for his match against Punk until David Otunga arrives with a letter. It's an urgent letter, so Laurinaitis reads it right away. It doesn't appear to be good news. Show of hands. Who here believes that Laurinaitis was going to fight Punk tonight? Yeah….I thought so.
So, we are getting ready for the Punk/Laurinaitis match. Okay, NOW he arrives with a "Future Endeavored" shirt? This guy is just too much. Laurinaitis might be one of my favorite characters. Laurinaitis arrives and says he received a letter from the Board of Directors. They told him that he is a little out of control and his status as the interim Raw GM is being under reviewed. It was announced that on next week, Triple H will conduct a full evaluation of Laurinaitis as the Raw GM. Laurinaitis apologizes for his power trip as of late and says he will call the championship match down the middle. Punk says Laurinaitis will only do this now that he knows he might lose his job. He also says the Mick Foley will be allowed to compete in the Royal Rumble match. Punk still doesn't like Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis says Otunga will be his replacement tonight, which makes Otunga attack Punk. I really don't consider this a match, but I guess you could. I don't since no bell rang. Punk fights back and locks in the Anaconda Vice on Otunga. He is tapping out and Punk finally releases it. Epic staredown between Punk and Laurinaitis. I like how Punk picks up Laurinaitis to hit the GTS and John doesn't seem to give a crap. It's like he said, "Well….I guess I'm going to get a knee in the face……I wonder what's for dinner?". Laurinaitis looks so depressed that it's hilarious. That's the face of a man who has accepted his fate. After the GTS, Punk plays to the crowd, but Dolph arrives and hits the Zig Zag on Punk. The show ends with Dolph standing tall. Just as I speculated, the match between Punk and Laurinaitis didn't happen tonight. I have a feeling this match will eventually happen, but this isn't the time or place. So, it seems Laurinaitis' actions have put him in some hot water. Well, they definitely set up the show for next week. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do. As for the ending, it shows that maybe Dolph has a chance in winning the championship. It's very possible, but I still think Punk will walk away with the title after the PPV is over and done with.
I thought Raw was pretty good this week. I still think last week was a better show, but this was a pretty good show as well. The wrestling quality was a little better this week, but I enjoyed the promo/segment scenes more. I think the other reason I liked tonight's show was the build up for the Royal Rumble. I think they built up the PPV pretty well. So far, I liked the card for the Royal Rumble, but I wasn't very hyped up for most of the storylines…..that is until the last few weeks of WWE programming. I think the last two weeks have set up the PPV pretty well and I think this can be a pretty decent PPV. The WHC match is still iffy, but I am really looking forward to the WWE title match, Cena vs Kane and the Royal Rumble match. Lots of build up towards Cena's character this week as he finally looks to be showing signs of embracing the hate, while Punk and Laurinaitis continues to hate each other and are just about ready to throw it down. I kinda like how things are shaping up over on the Raw brand. The undercard storylines need to be worked on (considering there is very few of them outside of Ryder's injury), but the main storylines are doing pretty well. The action is okay for this week, but I think the promos/segments is what helps the show. In that sense, I guess I can recommend the show. I don't recommend everything, but I was entertained tonight. 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.