Raw Review – January 3, 2011
-Happy 2011 to everyone out there in the IWC. Apologies for my absence last week as I was attending the Smackdown house show in Pittsburgh, which started at 7:30 Monday night…why the hell they would do that, God only knows. The plus side is I only got 15 emails asking where the hell I was this time, so maybe that’s a good sign.
The Fink, however, has seen better days
-We get a recap of CM Punk joining Nexus, which should give the smarks a brand new hero. Unfortunately, this means we are robbed of Punk’s awesome commentary where he blatantly mocks the stupid things that occur on the show.
-LIVE! from Phoenix, AZ (home of heat and old people)
Falls Count Anywhere for the WWE Title
The Miz vs. John Morrison
You don’t think people would…you know…PAY to see this match?!? Why give away the only rivalry we haven’t seen yet on TV for free? It makes zero sense. A brawl breaks out in the and Riley makes a pest of himself until Morrison slams him into a big WWE logo and dives off the same logo, taking out Riley and the Miz for two. Morrison whips his ass back to the ring but gets caught with an elbow for two. They head up top where Morrison blocks a superplex and hits a missile dropkick for two. We replay the WWE logo dive which, I’m sorry, wasn’t that impressive. John busts out La Magistral for two and hits a springboard kick to set up a running knee to the face for two, broken by a returning Alex Riley. Morrison reacts as any rational man would…he knocks the shit out of Riley with a shining wizard. Is A-Ri the most useless goon ever on a WWE roster? The Miz shits himself in fear but WE GOTTA TAKE A BREAK!!
Hey! It’s relevant…she had an interview on WWE.com
We return with both guys battling by the stage and Morrison takes a backdrop on top of a ring railing for two….nice, painful bump there. Miz gets a nice looking knee lift to the face for two and slams Morrison on the entrance ramp for another near fall. Miz is a bit over the top on his facials tonight, even moreso than usual. Miz hits him with something that looks like a milk crate wrapped in duct tape and that deadly weapon is enough for two. At least it wasn’t an aluminum cookie sheet…the man has a family.
Back in the ring, Morrison mounts a comeback with a leg lariat for two but takes too long setting up Starship Pain and Miz hits a backbreaker-neckbreaker combo for two. The champ looks to finish but misses a blind charge, hitting the post, and Starship Pain hits this time…for two. Nice false finish there. Miz gets a surprise rollup for two but Morrison hits a reverse kick that barely makes contact but poor Miz is forced to sell it all the way to the floor. Morrison sets Miz on a table outside the ring but misses Starship Pain off the top and goes through the table in a sick bump…for two. Miz finally had enough of Morrison and hits the Skull Crushing Finale outside the ring to retain his title.
Winner and STILL Champion: The Miz
-OK, yes, it was an AWESOME TV match, let’s get that out of the way first but there are two big problems here: One, they gave away a match for free that people might have paid for. In an era where the live audience almost outnumbers the PPV buyers, you take anything you can get. Secondly, Miz has just pinned Morrison clean and proved he’s better than him…why would anyone get behind him as a challenger again? Morrison was a borderline title contender to begin with and now he’s FIRMLY tag title material only (that’s not a compliment). Seems like a waste of Morrison if you ask me but hey…I’m not the billionaire here. In all fairness, still an awesome TV match ***1/2.
-I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the most impressive guy at the Smackdown show was definitely Alberto Del Rio. Even though he wore a mask for most of his career, his facials are awesome and I’m becoming a big fan of his work in the ring. He had the crowd in his hands for his entire match with Big Show and Rey Rey.
-Backstage, Miz gloats about his win.
-We recap the Melina heel turn for the 9 people in the audience who care.
Melina, Maryse, & Alicia Fox vs. Natalya, Eve, & Brie Bella
Brie and Maryse have a catfight but Maryse suckers her into chasing her and slams Brie’s head to the mat for two. Brie sucks so she gets her ass kicked some more and tumbles to the outside where she switches places with Nikki….wow, such drama. Nikki gets a sloppy X-Factor back inside for two and tags in Natalya, who beats up Alicia and hits a double underhook suplex. Melina interferes with a necksnap but runs into a clothesline and Eve finishes this with a swinging neckbreaker.
Winners: Natalya, Eve, & Brie Bella
-I really couldn’t care less about this angle or match *. Once again, why job out the number one contender for a title? Because creative thought it was a good idea.
The Usos vs. Santino & Vladimir Kozlov
Kozlov controls Jimmy rather easily so Jey tries his luck against Santino. Marella puts over that Kozlov is teaching him his offense but still gets his ass kicked in the heel corner. Santino fights out and gets a tag to Kozlov, who beats the hell out of Jimmy some more but Uso goes to the eyes and Jey comes off the top with a forearm for two. Jey runs into a backdrop so Jimmy runs in but Kozlov kicks him off and it’s a lukewarm tag to Santino to clean the house of fire. Kozlov REALLY fucks up the brawling spot, leaving Santino to try the Cobra on Jimmy but he walks into a Samoan drop for the pin.
Winners: The Usos
-Sloppy match with no real story *. So the Usos get a win over the tag champions but then OF COURSE Kozlov and Santino instantly get their heat back by cleaning the ring of the heels with the ridiculous Cobra…and they wonder why no one gives a shit about the tag division.
-Cole announces that the New York Times reported a “major” news story about Tough Enough returning to TV. I’m sure it was front page news all over the country, Mean Gene.
-CM Punk hits the ring to remind everyone that he always keeps his promises and announces his intentions to take over Raw. Punk is truly one of the few unique characters left in WWE these days. Wade Barrett, however, does not take kindly to Punk calling himself the leader of Nexus and voices his displeasure. The rest of Nexus joins the party and is interrupted by Mr. Mystery GM, who announces the participants for the number one contender steel cage match tonight. Punk gives Barrett the final spot in that match but, if Wade loses, he’s out of Nexus.
-My new hero Alberto Del Rio joins us on Raw to run down the unwashed Phoenix residents and remind everyone he will win the Royal Rumble. R-Truth, who wouldn’t know a good promo if it bit him in his ass, interrupts, giving us…
Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth
Truth sticks and moves, hitting a spin kick and clotheslining Del Rio to the floor before following with a plancha and WE GOTTA TAKE A BREAK!!!
We return with Truth hammering away in the corner and hooking a powerslam for two. Truth gets caught with his head down though and Del Rio gets an armbreaker for two. Del Rio stays on the arm to setup the finisher and hooks an armbar. Truth fights out to zero reaction but the arm is too injured and Del Rio stays in control and works the arm. Del Rio finally makes a mistake, missing a charge against the ropes and Ricardo Rodriguez tends to his fallen charge.
Back inside, Truth makes the babyface comeback with a hiptoss for two but Del Rio rolls to the apron and viciously yanks Truth’s arm against the ring post…very nice. Del Rio pounces immediately and hooks the cross armbreaker and Truth has no choice but to tap out.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
-Del Rio carried the match storyline-wise, psychologically, and controlled the pace…can’t really ask for much more than that **3/4.
-Backstage, Nexus teases drama.
Steel Cage WWE Title #1 Contender’s Match
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett
This is escape rules only for some reason, probably relating to the finish, I’m sure. Barrett tries to escape right away but gets beaten down by both men until Sheamus tries to sneak out the back door and Orton is forced to clothesline him down. Barrett take down Orton with a big boot and looks for Wasteland but Orton escapes and climbs the cage, forcing the heels to drag him back in and beat him down. Barrett tries to catch Sheamus sleeping and makes another escape attempt but gets floored with a clothesline. Sheamus also tries to go over the top but Orton saves and cleans house on the heels. A three-way staredown results and WE GOTTA TAKE A BREAK!!
Win or lose…awesome seats and an awesome experience
We return with Orton at the brink of escaping over the top but Sheamus holds on for dear life until Barrett can help him pull Randy back in. Orton still dominates and dropkicks Sheamus against the cage but he has to abandon the hangman’s DDT when Barrett tries an escape. Orton hooks both guys for a double hangman’s DDT but Sheamus breaks with a back body drop. Double suplex puts Orton down and the heels square off with Barrett whipping Sheamus to the corner and making ANOTHER escape attempt but he gets caught by Randy. Do you like guys climbing cages? Then this is a five-star match to you.
Orton brings Barrett down with a superplex but walks into an Irish Curse and Barrett tastes the cage and you can be damn sure it doesn’t taste good. Sheamus tries for the door but Orton stops him and another escape attempt is stopped by Barrett. Pump handle slam puts Sheamus down and a side slam does the same to Orton. Wade makes his escape attempt and thwarts the attempt by Sheamus to stop him but a flying elbow only hits knees. Orton wakes up from his Viper Sleep to make his comeback but he has to put it on hold to stop a Sheamus escape attempt. I am so done with this match.
Barrett crotches both guys on the top rope and takes them out with big boots. But, since he’s a fucking moron, he decides to go over the top instead of simply walking out the door. CM Punk runs out and offers his hand to help Barrett out of the cage but rips Wade’s armband off and kicks him back into the ring. Sheamus takes him out with a pump kick and Orton KOs Sheamus with an RKO, walking out the door and becoming the number one contender.
Winner: Randy Orton
-I don’t know about the rest of you but I was bored out of my mind with all the climbing shit and lack of actual wrestling. Everyone knew that Orton was going to win because Miz/Sheamus doesn’t make sense and Miz/Barrett would draw a 0.00001. Anyways, call it *1/4 and chalk it up to experience.
One awesome match and one pretty good match makes the show watchable but the main event had me reaching for the remote. There’s way too much dead weight dragging the shows down every week, making it that much smarter to just end the brand extension experiment and consolidate the star power. Anyways, a decent episode but definitely could be condensed into a 4 sentence summary.