The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 12/19/11
The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 12/19/11
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this is the Raw Deal…
The show started with CM Punk announcing that he had won at TLC to retain his WWE Title. There were loud chants for him right away. Philly’s a big market for indy wrestling and in particular Ring of Honor where Punk spent a lot of time, so he was very over with the crowd. He put over the physicality of the WWE Title match from TLC, saying that even though he was sore from going through a table he was still the WWE Champion.
From there, Punk brought up the US Title saying there was a new champion in Zack Ryder. Ryder came out to a nice pop. Then he did the same, saying it made him very proud to say that Daniel Bryan was the new World Heavyweight Champion. Bryan came out to a good pop as well. Punk put over Philly saying that a city like that would appreciate them, which was a nod to all the time Bryan & Punk spent in ROH as well as other indies in the area. He mentioned meeting Bryan ten years ago down the road from the building at the Murphy Rec Center. He said that they all worked from the bottom to get to the top. True that. He let Ryder talk. All he said was he called his dad to check to make sure he was actually the US Champ. I guess he doesn’t have much else to say. Then Daniel Bryan spoke, saying people like Michael Cole doubted him, but he excitedly told us that he was the new World Heavyweight Champion.
The fun was interrupted by The Miz, Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio, all of whom appeared on stage. They went to the ring as all six guys began to fight. Ryder hit a dive on Ziggler. When he landed it, Miz & Del Rio threw him into the steps. The heels ran away as interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis came out to book a 3 on 3 tag match for later in the show. He got that from the Teddy Long book of booking tag matches, I think.
It was a fun first 15 minutes because you’re not used to seeing that. It was a surreal moment to see those three guys holding those three titles. I’m really happy for all of them. I’m actually quite stunned that WWE would book such a unique & fun opening segment considering what we usually get. I’m not complaining, trust me. I’m happy to see it. It has me excited for the future, quite frankly.
I thought I should share this for those that didn’t see it. CM Punk tweeted the following picture earlier on Monday.
It’s pretty cool to see all the current champions together like that.
Randy Orton d. Wade Barrett via DQ (**)
They wrestled at Tribute to the Troops, at TLC on Sunday and again here on Raw. Early on in the matchup, Barrett sent Orton to the floor for the vintage commercial spot. I love heels that are so nice that they knock the babyface out of the ring so the director can go to commercial. I think I just broke the fourth wall with that one. Back to the match, Barrett was on offense, Orton made the comeback with the usual and put him down with the DDT off the ropes. When he went for the RKO, Barrett gave him a thumb to the eye for the DQ loss at the 9 minute mark. They did that crappy finish because they don’t want Orton to lose and they don’t want to book Barrett to lose again by getting pinned, so that’s what you get. He did the same thumb to the eye as a loss a few weeks back. I can also remember Drew McIntyre doing it to lose matches back when he was actually on Smackdown. It’s probably a Michael Hayes booking thing.
Post match, Barrett attacked Orton. He ended it with the Wasteland through the table. If they were having an even brawl a bunch of refs would come out to break it up, but since Barrett was beating him up nobody broke it up. That’s wrestling “logic” for ya. I guess this means that this feud…cue Howard Finkel voice…MUST CONTINUE!
They showed still shots of Triple H beating Kevin Nash at TLC. Cole & Lawler said Nash would be out for about six weeks. In other words, he’ll be back for the Royal Rumble. Got it.
Alicia Fox d. Beth Phoenix (DUD)
Beth Phoenix lost in about a minute to a non-title match. A champion losing a non-title match in WWE? That never happens. Or always. Take your pick. No Natalya with Beth for some reason. Alicia hit her flipping legdrop finish for the pin and it hurt Beth. She tweeted later, showing a picture of her face looking messed up. I’ve said for weeks that Alicia’s finisher was going to hurt somebody. It happened here although it’s probably not that serious. After the match, Alicia wished us all a Foxy Holiday. Somebody got paid to come up with that line? Nobody cared. I wish she got a better finishing move. I miss Kharma.
Sheamus d. Jinder Mahal (1/2*)
Again with this match? He KO’d Mahal on Raw, beat him clean on Smackdown and he beat him again here in a two minute match. He won with the Celtic Cross this time, so at least that’s different than a Brogue Kick finish. Can Sheamus get a feud please?
Have you read my TLC recap yet? A good show with some memorable moments and a strong main event match. I also posted the 2011 WWE Johnny Awards early on Monday. It’s a long read, but one I’m very proud of. It’s a good summary of key moments from the past year in WWE as I hand out some cool awards as well as some ridiculous ones.
The top of the hour means John Cena time. It was the typical mixed reaction for JC although it sounded like mostly boos to me. I quickly noticed that the top of his t-shirt was ripped at the very top as if somebody was going to rip it later on. Way to be subtle about it huh? He did his usual spiel about some people not liking him and then bringing up The Rock saying he’s ready for WrestleMania 28 on April 1. He said he understood why Rock didn’t like him, but was confused as to why Kane went after him. Maybe Kane is mad that he no longer wears a red t-shirt? Yeah, I think that’s it. He said if last week was an accident then they can move on, but if not then they had to handle their business.
Cue “somebody gonna get they ass kicked.” Mark Henry walked out in his Hall of Pain shirt and he had a boot on his left ankle again. If you’re wondering why he dropped the World Title so suddenly it’s because he has a groin injury, so Vince McMahon decided to take the title off him. I wouldn’t be shocked if Henry regained the World Title in 2012. There was a “sexual chocolate” chant as Henry walked out to ringside. It seemed like it threw him off because he paused while he was on the apron. I love Philadelphia just for that chant. He talked trash to Cena. It wasn’t anything worthwhile, really.
Kane’s music hit. He looked the same as he did a week ago with a grey mask covering his face. He stared down Mark Henry, who was out on the floor. Then he turned to face John Cena, who did the Vince McMahon-like gulp with his throat. Now you know why Vince loves him. He did the gulp! Kane took off the grey mask to reveal the red one covering his face. It’s amazing how fake black hair doesn’t match the grayish stubble on his face. I’m still laughing from all the people that wrote me last week asking if it was Kane’s real hair. Yes it was. He got it from Santa Claus as an early Christmas present. (Now THAT is sarcasm.) Cena attacked Kane, hitting a clothesline that sent Kane to the floor. The only problem was that Kane landed on his feet. He pulled Cena down, threw him into the wall behind the announcers desk. Kane beat him up with punches to the face and then Kane was shoving his fingers down his throat while also ripping at his face. I guess that’s what he was doing. Cena was bleeding from the mouth because of it. I guess bleeding from the mouth is allowed now. To end the attack, Kane ripped off Cena’s “Rise Above Hate” t-shirt. Well, it’s a good thing the top part of it was already cut for him. Cena is such a nice guy he cuts his shirts for his enemies. Then Kane left. I guess he just needed a new shirt?
The attack last week was better than this one. I like the idea of Kane being a badass monster because that’s what he should always be. However, the attack was lame with the choking, the bleeding from the mouth and the ripping of the t-shirt. I would have had him attack Cena in a more physical way. A Tombstone on the ring steps would have done the trick. This didn’t accomplish their goal in the best possible way in my humble opinion. It was still an okay segment, but not great.
Epico & Primo d. The Usos (*1/4)
This was a fun tag match between four young guys that can work at a fast pace. Rosa Mendes is out there with Epico & Primo. Her gimmick now is to speak only in Spanish. Is she even talented? I don’t know, but she has some physical features that are talented. By that I mean she has a nice body. Anyway, the match wasn’t too long, but it was a good win by the team of Epico & Primo. Epico won with the Backstabber although he didn’t hit it perfectly. Match got about three minutes. Lawler said “Carlito” when they did the replay when it was really Primo. Oops. It’s nice to see them give the tag division some time on Raw although the crowd was pretty dead for it. It takes time to rebuild the tag division after they did their best to kill it the last few years.
They aired a commercial for the Royal Rumble with Santino in it. He did finish second last year.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Cody Rhodes. He was in full serious mode when Santino showed up and gave him a Christmas gift, which was his hand in the “Cobra” sleeve. He called him “Coby” instead of Cody. Apparently “Coby Rhodes” was trending on Twitter shortly after this. What an accomplishment.
Cody Rhodes d. Santino (*)
This was your typical enhancement match. Santino went for the Cobra, but instead Rhodes won clean with the Alabama Slam in just under two minutes. Rhodes needs a new feud. So does Sheamus. Put them together! Done!
They aired a video package on the Tribute to the Troops special from last week. I hate to admit this, but I actually like the Nickelback song “When We Stand Together” that they performed during the show. I don’t like Nickelback. I’m just saying that song is tolerable.
Back from break, The Bellas were arguing backstage with John Laurinaitis. They said they weren’t floozies and then they argued with eachother about it. They’re awful. JL wished them a Merry Christmas, so they each gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then Vickie showed up wanting a US Title match for Ziggler, but she was interrupted by Hornswoggle who had a mistletoe in his hand and gave her a kiss. She freaked out about it. Oh WWE comedy, you’re so lame sometimes. This was one of those times.
After showing some pictures from TLC, they went to a video of Zack Ryder’s dad after the show. Zack’s dad said he was so proud of him and that he worked so hard for it.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Big Show who was sad that he lost the World Title to Daniel Bryan. He said three seconds took away what took him nine years to get back. He claims that it was his fault because he told Bryan to not cash in the briefcase at WrestleMania. He gave the “little guy” credit for living his dream. Mathews pointed out that Show had the shortest World Title reign in history. Wow Josh is pushing buttons. Show was mad; you could see it on his face. Show just stared at him, said “okay” and walked off. I thought it was an effective segment. Show’s reaction to the situation was perfect. I’d expect a heel turn against Daniel Bryan very soon.
The heel team entered the arena for the main event. Miz was out first followed by Ziggler & Del Rio. No Ricardo with Alberto because he was selling the huge bump through tables during the TLC match on Sunday. As Del Rio went to the ring, the “It Begins” video started up.
I’ve said pretty much from the beginning that the videos were about Chris Jericho. Then I read this post at NoDQ.com from a fan that provided his theory on the videos. The explanation goes like this: These videos are hyping a potential WM28 feud between CM Punk and Chris Jericho and here’s why: In the video the little boy is representing Jericho and the little girl is representing Punk. Keep this in mind throughout my explanation. Notice, how the little boy continues to write in his notebook and the little girl keeps trying to look at what he is writing. Once the boy goes into the corner (Jericho’s time off from WWE), The girl tries to do the work herself, but can’t come up with anything. Keep in mind that she looked at the boy’s notebook and this is implying that she has stolen the boy’s work, which represents Jericho going to come back and claim that Punk is a fraud and has stolen his ideas and gimmick and what not. Also the ball in the video represents Jericho “dropping the ball” by leaving and Punk “taking the ball and running with it”. The ball belonged to the boy and the girl took. At the end the girl is standing in the spotlight and the boy is in the dark with his head down indicating that we have forgotten about Jericho and that Punk is the new guy we all know and love. This will lead to WM match with Punk and Jericho. Look within the video not what the kid is saying…. That was written by a fan named “Jack Foley” so credit him with that not me.
If you need more, from the video that was on Raw this week look at this pic of the book. It looks like a straight edge “X” over the name “CHRIS” on it, which again would suggest the Punk/Jericho feud. Bring it on. I’m excited. Officially. Either it says Chris or “REPO MAN” on it. I can’t tell. (That’s sarcasm again. Some people need it to be pointed out.)
Back to the show, when the babyfaces came out for their match each guy entered through the crowd. First it was US Champion Zack Ryder, then World Champion Daniel Bryan and finally the WWE Champion CM Punk. That was pretty cool. During all of it, Michael Cole was freaking out about it saying that none of those three guys deserved to be champions.
CM Punk, Daniel Bryan & Zack Ryder d. The Miz, Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler (***)
The faces dominated the early part of the match with each of them hitting dives to the floor as the match went to commercial. The Philly crowd was hot for it while Cole continued to complain about all of them. Back from break, Miz got the advantage on Daniel Bryan after a nice DDT. This led to the heel team beating on Daniel Bryan as the babyface in peril. All members of the Miz, Ziggler & Del Rio team got to work over Bryan. It was nice to see Miz vs. Bryan as well as Ziggler vs. Bryan for a few moments here as DB had great feuds with both in 2010. Bryan got the hot tag to Ryder, who was on fire and scored a two count after a Broski Boot to Ziggler. That didn’t last long after Dolph hit a dropkick to slow it down. After a few minutes of working over Ryder, he got the hot tag to Punk. He hit the bulldog as well as the top rope elbow for a two count. Ziggler saved Miz from tapping out to the Anaconda Vice. They went into the finishing sequence with Bryan & Del Rio being the legal men. Ryder pulled Ziggler out of the ring, Punk hit Miz with the GTS and Bryan put Del Rio in the LeBell Lock to force the tap out submission victory at the 13 minute mark.
I’m not sure if others noticed, but Del Rio appeared to have injured his groin or his leg. He was grabbing at it after he tagged in. Even during the finish, you could see that while Bryan had him in the LeBell Lock, Del Rio looked to be in a lot of pain and was reaching down to where he might have been hurt. He looked to be in legit pain although I’m reading online reports that it’s not considered to be a serious injury.
To end the show, the team of Bryan, Ryder and Punk celebrated with the fans while Michael Cole continued to complain about it all.
That was a very fun main event. The TLC PPV was a feel good show. That’s what this Raw was too. It was about the good guys being triumphant. It’s a nice idea to have shows like this during the holiday season. Bryan was the right guy to go over in the main event because his title win could be portrayed as a fluke so it’s important for him to get wins like that.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan
2. CM Punk
3. Zack Ryder
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 3.5 (October 10)
2011 Average: 5.78
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 6.5, 7.5, 7, 5
This week’s show gets a 6.5, which is above the yearly average. There wasn’t that much that happened on this show that was really newsworthy. The main story was the success of the three champion babyfaces that appeared in the show open and the main event. I loved all of that stuff. What else happened though? Not a whole lot. It was filled with short matches or squash matches that amounted to very little. They had Barrett avenge his loss to Orton and also added to the mystery of why Kane is going after Cena. There are still no answers to that, which is fine by me. No Brodus Clay again. Poor guy. They don’t even mention it anymore.
With no PPVs until the Royal Rumble on the last Sunday of January, there’s no rush for them to promote to a PPV. As a result, they made this a feel good show. I’d expect the next few weeks to be similar. Obviously the big “mystery” reveal on January 2nd is a big deal.
Next week’s Raw is from CM Punk’s hometown of Chicago. That should be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it.
To bring this column home it’s Twitter Ten time.
I asked you for questions and you responded to me @johnreport.
@iamthatjack How will Bryan be booked as champ?
Well I hope. But it’s hard to say. Wouldn’t be shocked if it was a short title reign that saw him lose at Elimination Chamber though.
@Mofoticon Who has the best chance of still being around as a top guy in 10 years, ala Orton right now?
Cody Rhodes. He’s only 26 and is close to main eventing right now. Good talker, worker & the biz is in his blood.
@agtz87 Possible Wrestlemania opponents for Ziggler, Rhodes and Barret?
I’d like to see Ziggler/Bryan for the World Title, but technically Ziggler is a Raw guy. Does it matter? No idea for other two.
@LukeTheMorgz Who would you have Punk & Bryan defend against at the Rumble?
I think it will be Punk vs. Miz. For DBry I think it will be heel Big Show, who would put Bryan over. Too much show though.
@jayc4life Do you think that by beating Booker T, this is a good way to lead into the mooted Cody Rhodes/Goldust feud?
No idea if that’s the plan, but they can set it up at the Rumble by having Goldust eliminate his brother.
@matthewtoy Zack Ryder is US Champ. So, now what?
Hopefully a successful title reign. Ziggler had a really good run with it. Let’s see Ryder have his shot with it.
@Trelane_ Do you think the mask revival for Kane is a last ‘hurrah’ to his character before he retires?
He’s in his 40s, so yeah. Another 1 or 2 years and that’s probably it. Could be a lot of fun for nostalgia sake.
@burninpaperhart How would you book bryan now, what kind of champion should he be, how should he win his matches etc?
I’d book him as a guy that destroys people with submissions and wins in surprising fashion. Doubt WWE books him like that. That doesn’t mean he has to be a “lucky” champion. But he can win with different submissions for example.
@ARadevski27 What do you think of raw in chicago next week? Will it be a MITB crowd?
I think it will be awesome especially with Punk returning with the WWE Title in his hands. Will be a huge show.
@SickPavarotti What’s your top 5 to never win a world title in a major promotion? Mine – Mr. Perfect, O. Hart, Hall, Bulldog, & Bam Bam
That’s a good list. Hennig/Perfect would be my best choice. I’d throw Roddy Piper, Ted Dibiase & Rick Rude in there too.
Thanks for the questions as always.
I’m not writing Canton’s Corner this weekend. My next piece will be the Raw Deal next Tuesday. After writing so much in the last five days I need the break.
On behalf of everybody associated with The John Report, I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas if you’re celebrating. It’s my favorite holiday. Never disappoints for me. Happy holidays my friends.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.