‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Excuse the lateness but last night I was out witnessing one of the the biggest acts of giant killing in football history. Problem was I was supporting the giant which really made sitting in the -2° Yorkshire winter not worth it! At least I could watch Raw in the warmth of my own home. Anyway, I am already behind so I shall leave the chit-chat for another day...
Ranking the Raw Talent - Week 17 (CPR Productions)
Dec 12, 2012 - 5:47:31 PM
WEEK 17: 10/12/2012
It was a really up and down episode of Raw. I thought almost everything on the show was either really good or really bad. There wasn’t much of a mid point to be honest. A lot of the biggest stars were used in minimal roles this week. You could say that was strange heading to a PPV, particularly one without the WWE title being up for grabs, but it all seemed to come right in the end. It seems like forever since Raw went off the air in the middle of a mass brawl but that’s exactly the kind of final memory before a PPV that will make people want to buy it. Having participants from TLC’s three biggest matches beating the crap out of each other was fun enough to make me forget the snoozefest that was Show vs Cena just before it. Only two men involved in that brawl however made the top ten this week. Let’s find out who they are and who else made the cut.
THE REAL POWER 10
10. Eve - 1 Point
And once again I jump on the pro-Eve bandwagon. I actually can’t believe how often I am doing it but she just continues to add layers to her character and that is something that I always appreciate. Bringing the photographer in the ring after her match with Alicia Fox and doing poses over her defeated opponent was as good a heel ploy as we have seen in 2012 from anyone on the roster, regardless of gender. She has firmly established herself as top dog (top bitch?) now and I have to assume she is likely heading for a Mania showdown with AJ, and to be honest, I am fine with that.
=8. The Usos - 2.5 Points Each
Ok, so I have broken my whole “even partners get ranked separately” rule here but I really couldn’t differentiate between Jimmy and Jey most of the time. What I was sure of however is they looked excellent on Raw in the four team elimination match. They knocked off the Colons and surprisingly, The Prime Time Players and did so in pretty convincing fashion. They were never going to get by Rhodes Scholars at this stage but they certainly made the most of an opportunity given to them and it will be interesting to see if they can get themselves a mini-push in the stacked tag team division.
7. The Miz - 4 Points
It seemed like my mixed reaction to Miz’ face promo work with Punk last week was just about the most favourable in the IWC. I am not sure if that will end up being the same this week, but I thought Mr Mizanin seemed a lot more comfortable and on point throughout his interview with Rhodes Scholars. Ok, the whole Pinky and Stinky ending was a bit of a push but before that all three men seemed to play off of each other very well indeed with Miz getting the role of brash face just about right. Some of those facial expressions still need to go though.
6. Sheamus - 5 Points
It was a busy night for Sheamus. It all started in that horrible clusterfuck of an opening segment and ended in the awesome brawl as Raw went off the air. In the middle however he managed to have a strong TV match with Dolph Ziggler. Now the Show Off is having great bouts week in, week out but Sheamus definitely did his fair share of the work here. Hopefully his run with Show will be over after Sunday and he can move onto a feud with someone that can actually hold my interest.
5. Kofi Kingston - 6 Points
As go-to “black dude we let hold a midcard belt so nobody can call us racist”, Kofi must be a bit worried over rumours that not one, but two of his predecessors are rumoured to be returning to the company. But if he continues to deliver performances like he did in his match with Antonio Cesaro, he should be good. As a big Shelton Benjamin fan I felt a bit pissed when it was clear he was passing that torch to Kofi, but he has been every bit the solid midcarder Shelton was, only with a few less botches. Anyway, a clean loss going to the PPV isn’t great but his opponent suffered the same fate. I guess that goes to show that US title is higher up the pecking order than the IC title right now.
4. Damien Sandow - 7 Points and 3. Cody Rhodes - 8 Points
Ok, let me get this out there right away. Cody’s mustache. Just wow! It’s just awful but got it’s own chant before mention was even made of it. It also seemed to have some kind of mythical power as Rhodes had easily the best night on the mic I have seen. I always thought his promos when he was doing all the stuttering were atrocious but last night it wouldn’t have been a stretch to believe his dad and big bro are who they are. I even think he topped his partner who was on point as ever during their interactions with The Miz. On top of that they had a decent showing in the four team elimination match. So all in all, Rhodes Scholars are back and looking just as strong as they did when Cody got injured.
2. Dolph Ziggler - 9 Points
When Raw started with Dolph standing on top of a ladder with a mic in his hand, I really thought we could be on the verge of a breakout promo. He has improved a lot on the stick this year but he still needs that one big “glass ceiling smashing” speech to really put him amongst the big boys. It started out with all the promise in the world but quickly descended into a total clusterfuck. He then got to show off in his match against Sheamus. There was something a little different in the air than normal here though. He wasn’t just getting thrown about because he looks good doing it. He held his own against the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship and didn’t even take an all too familiar clean loss. Does this bode well for his chances on Sunday? I sure hope so because if he drops the MitB case to Cena, the IWC may just spend the next five days proving the Mayans right.
1. Antonio Cesaro - 10 Points
Ok, I can’t help by be impressed more and more by this guy with each passing week. He is just a brilliant pro-wrestler. He was excellent in his match against Kofi Kingston and with all due respect to Truth and Barrett, I think both men will have their work cut out trying to do better at the PPV. He continues to show off his strength in different ways whilst managing to establish traits that are becoming known as his own. Again the crowd are slowly buying into him more and more and if he keeps this up, and WWE continue to believe, I think that he could become a huge star.
So there is Raw done and dusted. A lot of the show wasn’t covered in my countdown today but a few bits I’d like to talk about. First up is the whole Vickie and Vince double act. I think they proved once and for all that the awkwardness between them is most definitely staged. However it is becoming a bit too frequent now and add that to Vickie’s in ring performance with AJ and there was no way they were making the top ten this week.
Also making an appearance was the WWE Champion and his “guy”. Kudos to Punk for showing up. That just proves how committed he is to his craft and than he is fully deserving of keeping his long reign intact whilst on the shelf. His promo was decent. Heyman’s was better and probably unlucky to miss out on the ten. Either way I look forward to seeing what kind of a role they have at TLC. Cena and Big Show missed out thanks to their boring main event match. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued by what will happen in their matches at the PPV however.
The six men who will be involved in the TLC match on Sunday had a very light night. They all showed up at the end and brawled it out to sell their encounter but just what will happen. I actually have no idea. What should happen? I am not totally sure there either. I know a lot of people are pushing for a Shield win, and I get that, but I think that with the stipulations, as long as it is a closely fought battle, a loss won’t hurt them a great deal. A win could push them too the moon but can they really excel at that level that soon. I know they are indy darlings and all but even the likes of Punk and Bryan had to find the right balance lower down the card before they tore it up at the top. One thing that is for sure is that I am looking forward to seeing what happens at the PPV and I think the WWE now has my full attention until at least May.
And that wraps up this go home edition of Ranking the Raw Talent. As always I would love to hear your thoughts on the rankings. Was I wide of the mark on Miz again? Was I too harsh on Cena vs Show? Was Cesaro a tad too high? You can use the handy little comments boxes below, shoot me an email >>>here<<< or hit me up on my Twitter
to let me know. I shall be back next with Ranking the Raw Talent and in the meantime don’t forget to check out Oh Come All Ye Faithful, my Ranking the Talent advent calendar. Peace.