There has been mixed reactions in regards to the total lack of guest appearances on RAW considering this was the 20th Anniversary and I am most definitely of the persuasion that this was the correct way to go about it. With only 2 weeks to go until the Rumble, there was some real need to get some of the key feuds moved forward. It was just a massive shame that creative didn’t get the memo!
Opening Highlight Video
Raw opened with quite a funky mash up of all the RAW intro vids over the years which came across quite nicely. The editing wasn’t superb but I liked it. Simple and effective from the guys in the truck and would be the first of many compilation videos, each serving a purpose to re-live some of the moments from RAW’s past. Again, this was the correct way to go about it.
Vince, Big Show and ADR Open RAW
Big Vinnie mac was in the ring to thank himself for RAW and to run down the sheet for the nights action. Seems John Cena’s job has been taken from him by the Boss this week. I was a fan of the World Title situation opening RAW so that it got some serious spot light. It’s quite obvious that ADR is being pushed into the face mode and am currently enjoying his work. His new colour scheme reflects this nicely and his jokey back and forth with Ricardo is superbly entertaining. I hope they stop him coming out in the cars and instead leave this for PPV’s! It will take some time for his face character to shine through but the ground work is there for ADR to have a good future. The rematch is set for the Rumble and I would expect ADR to retain if they want his gimmick to go further.
Wade Barrett Vs Randy Orton
I would love to know how many times these guys have wrestled this past year as I’m sure i would need both sets of fingers and toes to count them. The match was just as you would expect from these two, nothing flashy, with the major exception that Wade went over clean! This shocked me immensely and shows two things in my eyes. 1. That WWE are classing Wade’s IC Title run as make or break by giving him serious rub from a veteran and 2, that this will likely fuel Randy’s heel turn in the near future, a turn I would expect during the Rumble match itself. Solid match naturally but the result was far more interesting going forward.
Eve Slaps Teddy and come on to Booker
Eve showed in this segment just what the diva’s division will be missing now that she has left. A genuine bit of promo work here which is very rare to find nowadays with the modern women of wrestling. Booker and Teddy did seem a little bit like bully’s here. Maybe a potential road they could go down. Unlikely seeing as creative obviously thought that was not the case at all and that they were simply serving Eve her notice.
Daniel Bryan, Kane and Dr Shelby have truly given us some immensely funny segments over the past few months and this was no exception. The opening with just the two wrestlers was hilarious and their answers to Shelby’s questions were equally as good. The Scholars, although funny, were not the main attractions here. Shelby’s turn was actually quite good and gives us a classic beat down by DB and Kane whilst Shelby eggs them on.
Kane Vs Damien Sandow
Kane defeats one half of the number 1 contenders to the Tag Titles. Not much to see but this win is of important note further into the show.
The Sheild Gun For Foley, Ryback Promo
Mick Foley, in both his segments on RAW, seemed a little distracted and not at his best. I’m not entirely sure of the purpose of this other than to get The Shield on camera. Am I the only one who absolutely loves The Shields entrance by the way? This draws Ryback, Sheamus and Orton out. I can only guess that the Shield will be involved in the Rumble otherwise I don’t see the purpose of this little feud between the 6 of them. I get the impression something will happen between them all that will come to light at the PPV.
Ryback also delivered a promo full of hard breaths and spittle. Simple and effective for the casual fans but he will need to develop beyond “The Monster” gimmick to truly succeed and win over the entire audience.
Kaitlyn Vs Eve
These two put on an entertaining match once again and I am truly happy that Kaitlyn won her first championship. She deserves it after all the effort she has put in recently and as I mentioned last week, she could be the face of the Diva’s going forward. Sorry to see Eve leave though.
Goodness me! Brodus Clay showed some passion. I like it and I get the impression that management will too.I hope he moves away from his stupid, big gay, latex wearing dancer gimmick soon. That’s not to say he should stop being a fun loving guy, but adding some more intensity and seriousness would definitely not go a miss. Nice work from the big man.
Brodus Clay vs CM Punk
I almost get the impression Punk requested this match to make up for his comments the week before. Not that Brodus probably cared though but still, Punk knows business and potentially saw a way in which he could put the big man over. This was probably one of Clay’s best matches but one of Punk’s worst. I was pleased someone on commentary made the connection that punk can beat anyone, any size. Simple big man goes down to the champ match in a nut shell.
CM Punk Promo
For the 2nd week running Punk has delivered a promo after a match. Granted this one was after a less gruelling match but still, he has the whereabouts to compose himself for a promo. I almost get the impression that Punk was told to tone down his promo so that he didn’t make Rock look like an amateur in comparison. He pulled all his punches and didn’t even elaborate when he mentioned that he wrestles for a living. Obviously indicating that Rock does not!
The promo was nice but there wasn’t much to it, more fuel to the idea that Punk was censored slightly this week in accordance with Rock’s “concert” later on.
Rock & Sock and Vicki
If you wanted proof that Dwayne is simply playing “The Rock”, this was it. I didn’t see the point in this segment apart from to give Foley and Rock some time together along with the pre-planned song later on. But seeing as Foley was most definitely NOT firing on all cylinders and the Rock is no longer The Rock, this just felt a bit uncomfortable. It speaks volumes that my wife mentioned she would rather listen to Vicki Guerroro than The Rock nowadays. Oh Snap!
Sheamus vs 3MB
This was most definitely the throw away match of the night, which just kept Sheamus looking big and tough. The result was never in question, however, I was a big fan of the ending Brogue Kick to Slater. Very creative and gives 3MB more time to make a name for themselves. Good luck to them!
John Cena Interview
Cena shows off some of his skills of writing an entertaining little speech and delivers it nicely. Not entirely sure of the purpose but it was nice none the less.
Miz, Flair and Cesaro
The main thing to take away from this segment was the mention of Flairs involvement in a musical chairs contest on RAW. If you haven’t seen the segment, stop reading this and get on to it IMMEDIATELY. One of the funniest segments in RAW history made great by the inclusion of Flair. But anyway, back to the segment.
Flair is starting to come across as a bit of an old drug addict nowadays as he seems to slur his words and improvises with some crazy / stupid things. Miz tried his best to keep control of the segment but it would appear Flair will not allow anyone to contain him. Nice showing for Cesaro here up against an established star in Miz and one of the biggest legends of legends in Flair.
Looking at Cesaro’s trunks it would appear that his anti-American gimmick is taking a unique turn in that he is representing the USA to become its hero and role model. I’m intrigued to see where this goes.
Daniel Bryan vs Cody Rhodes
Much like the Kane / Sandow match, this further cements the idea for me that The Scholars will walk out of The Rumble as champs. If one team has scored clean victories over the other in singles competition, all signs point to a title change. It has run its course and The Scholars are over enough now to keep the belts seem current and genuine. Team Hell No have done their work wonderfully.
AJ and the couples, Ziggy promo
AJ presented a history of RAW weddings and I took form this video just how risky the ladies used to wear their dresses. Shame it’s all changed.
Ziggler also made his point ahead of his cage match with Cena. Simple promo again but delivered sincerely. I wish Ziggy could find some humour in his delivery however to keep the fans attention a little longer and to break out of the generic intense heel mould.
John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler
Nothing has angered me more in the WWE over the past year than the last two Cena match’s on Monday Night RAW. Is it because Cena isn’t involved in the main feud that he has to bury anyone he comes into contact with? As a cage match this was actually very good with some great little spots revolving around the outside presence of Big E and AJ. As a cage match I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I did not enjoy was the fact that for the 2nd week running, John Cena kicked out of every single Dolph Ziggler signature / finishing move, avoided all the interference and hit one AA for the pin fall win. Would it surprise you if I were to remind you that Ziggler, only 4 weeks ago, beat Cena in a high profile Ladder match? It would!? Well that’s not surprising seeing as that victory seems to have fallen out of the WWE history books and most specifically the commentators minds.
Why they are burying this new and current 3 some on live TV when everyone is watching is beyond me. It used to work very effectively that the heels would always get the upper hand on TV and then the face would overcome all the odds on PPV. It’s a balancing act that WWE have totally forgotten when it relates to Super Duper Hyper John Cena Bruce Lee, and it’s becoming more and more frustrating to the hardcore fans. Disgusted!
Nice Super DDT bump by Cena though. Oh and mentioning this DDT, may I ask how a man falls from the top rope right onto his head and still kicks out? Disgusted!
Ahhh the segment we were all waiting for and it was just as irrelevant as we all thought it would be. It would have made some sense if he mocked his actual opponent at The Rumble but instead made penis jokes about Heyman and then destroyed Vicki Guerrero. Whoever wrote that song has some serious issues with Vicki as I’m not sure she deserved most of what she got! Kudos to her though for keeping a straight face when she most definitely wanted to laugh.
Were the songs entertaining? Oh of course they were! The Rock is a very entertaining man when he’s Dwayne making funny’s. The problem is that he is most definitely not The Rock. Let’s not forget it’s not supposed to be Dwayne fighting for the Championship in 2 weeks but the man who ruled WWE for years; The Rock! This Shtick worked with Cena last year as they are both cartoon characters, but with legitimate guy like Punk, it just looks childish. It’s the sort of scenario a heel Rock would pull on Stone Cold back in the day followed by a swift Stunner!
After the sing songs were over Rock got serious, but remained Dwayne unfortunately whilst he replied to Punks promo from a week ago. Did it take a week for Rock to think of a response to Punks verbal ass kicking? Was this the reason punk wasn’t allowed to add more fuel to the fire as Rock finally had a retort for Punk after 7 days? Who knows but it didn’t work and was very forgettable and pointless.
The ending should have been the two exchanging words, which might have ended in a convincing brawl; instead, all efforts were made to make Rock look like he had the last word and the brawl to end the show was less than convincing and instead felt desperate.
Overall RAW was a bit of a let-down with too little progression along with too many matches we’ve seen dozens of times. The parts of the show that showed a compilation of the past 20 years were actually quite good and commend WWE for not going for the easy “let’s get lets of old geezers” on the show. It’s just a shame that creative still phoned it in. Perhaps no one told them that a ton of legends weren’t going to appear.
As soon as you hear JR call the action in ring it immediately feels more legit, Michael Cole hasn’t got a clue on how to put talent, matches or feuds over on television and has been harming the product for some time. It was a shame that JBL was stifled during this RAW and was only their as the voice of Smackdown! Purely for the occasion.
Seriously, check out that musical chairs segment!
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This article was first posted on January 16, 2013