WWE Raw Review 12/3/12 - The Rock Concert Returns

The Rock brings it and sings it like only The Rock can. John Cena's old school rap returns.

The Big News: The Rock brought back The Rock Concert to electrifying results, John Cena brought back the doctor of thugamonics gimmick to rap about his issues with his rival and Triple H brought back the DX crotch chop as he appeared to turn his buddy and special guest referee Shawn Michaels against The Undertaker. In a Nutshell: The Rock brings it and sings it like only The Rock can. John Cena's old school rap returns. John Cena was introduced by Jerry Lawler and handed the opening segment slot to do a thugamonics style rap dressed in his old chain and backwards cap garment. With real attitude he rhymed about all the issues that have been building between himself and his rival including taking a shot at Rock's movie career by labelling him a GI joke, comparing his betrayal of the wwe to basketball star Lebron James taking his talents elsewhere to South Beach and saying that if Rock and Dwayne Johnson are the same person then frankly they both suck. He also threw in some cheap blows concerning Rock's gyno surgery and the tooth fairy chants that greeted him in Boston and claiming that if he is Kung Poa Chicken then Rock must be Miami Fried Chickenshit. I was never the biggest fan of Cena's acclaimed rap gimmick but I thought he did a very good job here at telling some jokes whilst still conveying the aggression relevant to the storyline. 1.) Sheamus defeated Dolph Ziggler via pinfall Ziggler played some mind games to start pulling out of holds and teasing his opponent before being battered to the ground by the Celtic Warrior who proceeded to outmanoeuvre Dolph with his superior power. Ziggler's attempt to hiptoss Sheamus then went south as Sheamus countered into a hiptoss of his own which sent Ziggler flying over the top rope. On the outside however Vickie caused a distraction that enabled Dolph to slide under the ring and come out the other side to send Sheamus tumbling to the ground with a dropkick in a superbly orchestrated heel spot. Ziggler then continued his assault by viciously flipping Sheamus head first into the butt of the announce desk before taking the time to recuperate inside the ring. At this point in the match we went with the cameras to a sky box where Daniel Bryan was watching with his girlfriend AJ by his side. Josh Matthews asked Bryan to comment on him having told AJ to €œshut up€ on Friday Night Smackdown but Bryan brushed it off as nonesense and asked AJ if it had bothered her to which she hesitantly claimed that it hadn't. We then went back to the match, where the pace picked up towards the finish. Sheamus caught Ziggler off the top and tried to hold him in a submission but Ziggler reversed into a roll up for a near fall. Sheamus then whipped his opponent into the corner but missed his charge enabling Ziggler to hit the fame asser for another near fall. On recovery Ziggler argued with the ref about the count before being struck with a brogue kick from Sheamus when he turned to face him. *** ½ This was another classy outing from Dolph Ziggler who has started to occupy the Christian position of being the most consistently entertaining worker week in week out. I'm also in heavy support of Sheamus winning contests with the Brogue Kick as opposed to the cross because the Kick is a quick and clean finishing move that can cause great excitement through its sudden appearance. It was confirmed that Team Long would face Team Laurinaitis at Wrestlemania in a 12 man tag team match with the victorious manager earning the right to run both Raw and Smckdown. 2.) Handicap Match: Mark Henry and David Otunga defeated Santino via pinfall This was initially established as a singles bout but Laurinaitis came out to abuse his Raw GM power by adding Mark Henry to the equation. Long then came out to make sure Aksana (who had come out with Santino) didn't find herself in any trouble. Long and Laurinaitis had another verbal war which led to Long pushing Laurinaitis over his chair on the announce desk. Inside the ring Santino managed to get the better of Otunga but he missed his opponents tag to Henry and when trying to unveil the cobra he was taken out by the world's strongest man with a slam for the pinfall. * Post-match Kofi Kingston and R-Truth both came out to try and help Santino but were both efficiently taken to the ground by Henry and Otunga who looked pretty bad ass linking up together. This was then a nice precursor to Laurinaitis announcing that Mark Henry had been added to his wrestlemania team. The US Title was already confirmed as a joke when handed to Santino so it's pointless complaining any further about the plight of the gold. However after seeing Henry look so demonstrative again it was a real shame to hear later on that next week he will be squaring up against giant killer John Cena in singles activity. Henry needs to get some wins under his belt if he is going to be seen as a big threat in this contest thus jobbing to Cena seems highly detrimental to that purpose. Backstage Zack Ryder confronted Eve about how great it was smooching with her (I bet) but expressed his disappointment that she hadn't responded to his texts, calls or tweets. He wanted to know if Eve was playing him but Eve denied this by explaining that they were basically friends with benefits and then offering to go out for dinner after the show. Ryder responded to this news like a twelve year old who had just caught sight of his first pair of breasts on television before shuttling off as Beth approached Eve's side. Beth expressed her amusement at the manner in which Eve was manipulating Zack and wondered if Beth would mind if she did the same but Eve apparently did mind and stormed off in a huff. At this stage Zack Ryder might as well be wearing merchandise that reads €œI got myself over and all it brought me was this t-shirt€. It is truly deflating to see a man work so hard to get noticed and be offered such little scraps in return. Meanwhile what what was the point of establishing Beth as a monster if they've now decided that they want to focus their energies towards the characterisation of Eve? The Divas are not going to win any awards any time soon for their acting abilities so it would be beneficial for everyone concerned if they'd just let them go out there and let the workers wrestle and the non-workers offer in ring support. The Miz wondered into the office of John Laurinaitis and disturbed his phone call to discuss Wrestlemania. Miz was accompanied by Psych star James Roady and used the actor's presence to explain to the GM that he offered the type of star power that would make him a valuable member of his team. Laurinaitis told Miz that he would obtain a place on his team if he could defeat CM Punk later on in the show. He also said that James Roady would be guest ring announcer for the match-up. 2.) Brodus Clay defeated Jinder Mahal via pinfall Typical Clay match with the dancing way longer than the actual match. Mahal attacked Clay from behind and got in a minute amount of offence before Clay hit back with supplexes for the pinfall. I'm not sure on the running order of the wrestlemania match-ups but having Clay come out and do his shtick would be the perfect piece of light relief to play in between say Taker/Hunter and Rock/Cena on the big night. DUD Shawn Michaels confrontation with The Undertaker Shawn Michaels came out to cut a promo. He replayed a clip from last week in which Hunter had spoken about the shame he felt about people calling his friend a loser behind his back. In something of a strange explanation Shawn then said that he had spoken to various superstars in the changing room over the last two weeks and not one of them had called him a loser, seemingly ignorant to the fact that they were said to be talking about him behind his back and not to his face. Shawn then claimed however that the one man he hadn't spoken to was The Undertaker implying that it must be the Deadman who was talking trash about him. This was a bit of a contrived fetch from Shawn. Undertaker came out to confront his legendary foe. Shawn brought up their Wrestlemania history and said that of all people Taker was the last man he would have expected to insult him. Undertaker implied that Hunter could simply be lying and targeted Shawn's insecurities. Shawn cut him off however and said that if anyone was insecure then it was the man who was still looking for validation from his long running streak because of the manner in which Hunter had left him laying at last year's wrestlemania. Undertaker said that win or lose he can accept the outcome but he will not accept Michaels ego getting in the way of the match. That the match must be pure and that if it isn't pure then there'll be hell to pay. Shawn then brought out his circa 1997 heel charm as he wondered about how ironic it would be if the man whose career Undertaker had finished could be the same person to count down Undertaker's shoulders at Wrestlemania and thus how ironic it would be if he ended up breaking the streak after all. Michaels then got ready to leave but Taker held him tightly by the arm and said that if he didn't play by the rules then he would end him. A seemingly aggravated Michaels then stepped back in position for an anticipated superkick but instead simply patted Taker on the shoulder in a condescending fashion opting for the lasting psychological damage as opposed to the quick physical one. Michaels then walked past an emerging Hunter on the ramp who smirked as he he directed a crotch chop towards his wrestlemania opponent. This segment got really heated towards the end and it was great fun to see Shawn heeling it up and very much making himself a third member in this third match-up in regards to the pleasure that handing Hunter victory would no doubt offer him. Although it's kind of cool to see Hunter in the master manipulator role, it still seems strange that it would be that easy to for him to turn Shawn against Taker and makes me think there might still be a few twists and turns within this storyline over the next few weeks. This was an effective angle however in raising the dramatic stakes and emotional gravitas of the hell in a cell match and despite a few verbal blunders from the Deadman (wrestlemania's on April 1st Mark) he still sold his concern very well at the end of the segment as he gave off the type of facial expression that made it clear that for the first time he is becoming a little concerned about having being given what he had so deeply wished for. For now, they have effectively plotted the best alternative to actually having Michaels, Taker and Hunter in a mouthwatering triple threat contest. 3.) CM Punk defeated The Miz via pinfall Outcome was obvious but Miz got in way more offence than he has been allowed in the past few weeks actually worming his way out of a GTS and getting the heat for a good little stretch. Miz then planted Punk with a DDT but Punk countered a skull crushing finale attempt into an anaconda vice for the submission victory. * ½ Post-match Chris Jericho who had been shown earlier watching backstage appeared on the big screen. He congratulated Punk on his victory but then drew his attention to a little bit of dirt he had uncovered on his rival during the week. He claimed to have discovered that the reason Punk was straight edge was because his father had been an alcoholic who had caused his son great shame and made him adamant that he wouldn't follow the same path. He then said that Punk would be unable to avoid this plight though because the drink was in his genes and that after he had beaten Punk at Wrestlemania and taken what is rightfully his beaten rival would be forced to turn to the bottle and wind up a pathetic, drunken mess just like his old man. Punk who had been smirking away as Jericho began his tirade now looked pissed as he left the ring looking dazed and angry. Jericho's delivery and Punk's selling here were magnificent but in a storyline that is trying to be cutting edge and €œon the inside€ so to speak this plot progression felt a little too melodramatic given the authenticity of the feud thus far. It's a really good and unexpected idea though which I hope will be blended more naturally into the programme over the coming weeks. 4.) Randy Orton defeated Jack Swagger via pinfall Swagger went out all guns blazing to try and unsettle Orton from the off but Orton responded by throwing his opponent outside the ring and ferociously smashing his head against the announce table. Back inside the ring Swagger managed to work over Orton and apply the ankle lock but Orton escaped to hit a superplex, clothesline, draping DDT and finally the RKO for the win. Typically electrifying stuff from the viper. ** ½ Post-match Kane's pyro went off to unsettle Orton but the Big Red Monster was not anywhere in sight. The Rock Concert Rock strolled out to address his millions. He talked about Cena's choice of clothing in the opening segment and said that wasn't the Cena he knew because the John Cena he knew looked like a cross between Vanilla Ice and a Teletubby. He then showed a graphic on the tiantron detailing this equation. Thankfully things picked up big time from thereon in as Rock picked up the guitar and sang about Cena to the tune of Jailhouse Rock. Nearly all the things he rhymed about were incredibly juvenile (one verse was concerned with Cena begging a doctor for a rectal exam) but it was delivered so naturally and with such panache and charm that it would be impossible to try and capture the magic by simply repeating what he sang. After bashing Cena, Rock, who by this stage had the crowd clapping and cheering in unison, then targeted adult Cena fans and sung about them being forty two year old virgins before concluding the guitar playing by singing about wooing Cena's mother. Rock then tried to sing altered lyrics to Queen's we will Rock you but appeared to be struggling with the difficult pacing and lost the crowds a little which wasn't so bad considering what a grandstand job he had done to get them electrified in the first place. To finish the segment Rock stepped up on the ropes and asked the hot crowd if they could smell what he was cooking. Give a guy like Jericho detail and he will craft exquisite verbal stories but simply hand The Rock a guitar and a crowd and he will electrify everyone in attendance. This was phenomenal. Verdict: Ziggler and Orton both brought it inside the ring and Cena, Jericho and Michaels brought it on the mic but all this week were forced to bow down to greatness that was The Rock and The Rock Concert which was true reminder of what made his wrestling persona so memorably entertaining in the first place. As an overall package this was a very good show with some effective storyline progression for the Hunter/Undertaker and Punk/Jericho feuds as well as some solid wrestling and a much improved middle section from the past few weeks. Zack Ryder having no real presence at this year's wrestlemania and being saddled in a stupid storyline with Eve when he should be trying to avenge his hellacious beatings from Kane was for me the only sore spot on this otherwise excellent edition of Raw.
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"Growing up, Laurent was such an ardent fan of wrestling superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin that he actually attempted to send the Texas Rattlesnake a letter demanding that he defeat arch-nemesis The Rock at Wrestlemania 15. Oh hell yeah, it was all still very real to him back then dammit. As an aspiring writer of multiple genres and platforms, he has also recently co-authored a non-fiction movie e-book entitled 'Egos, Cliches, Flops and Lost Films: Examining the powerful madness of the movies' which is written in a similarly light hearted and informative style to his wrestling articles and which can be browsed and purchased by following the link below -"