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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - The Pros & Cons Of Monday Night RAW
By Super Chrisss
Nov 29, 2011 - 11:30:50 PM

1. Day 383 - Mr. "Future Endeavored"

2. Day 384 - Sorry For The Hashtags, But #ManhattanScrewJob, #AreYouSeriousBro

3. Day 385 - Last-Minute Survivor Series Predictions

4. Day 386 - It Begins...But For Who?

5. Day 387 - Job Morrison IS Almost Out Of A Job

6. Day 388 - An [Elimination Chamber] Match Made In Heaven

7. Day 389 - The Pros & Cons Of Monday Night RAW

1. Day 383

WWE has never been afraid to make money out of "what's hot". When a superstar (rookie, midcarder, or main-eventer) starts getting bigger and bigger pops, the company will start pimping him out in merchandise. In fact, if you go to wweshop.com right now, you'll be stunned by the amount of stuff guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, and yes, Zack Ryder, have for purchase. Everything from hoodies to scarves to keychains and even backpacks have your favorite superstar's face decorated all over it. Meanwhile, guys like JTG, Tyler Reks, and Heath Slater have just about nothing for sale. It sucks, but it makes sense. Why market a jobber who not many people know when you can make tons of money off a hot commodity like Cena or Orton? It's not only a popularity contest - it's also a business.

But last week, WWE threw the fans a curveball. They released a brand new t-shirt for someone who probably hasn't worn a casual shirt in at least ten years. That man is the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and RAW's Interim General Manager, John Laurinaitis. This decision shocked many people because a) Johnny Ace is not a wrestler and b) Laurinaitis is a heat magnet, and certainly not a "cool heel". Therefore, I found it a bit strange that WWE would release a shirt for him, and don't ask me how he's going to promote it, since I doubt Johnny Boy is going to give up the suit and tie anytime soon (although he may "take off his jacket" if he gets angry).

Anyways, Lauriniatis's shirt has been up for sale not even a week, but it has already stirred up some controversy because of what is written on the front: "FUTURE ENDEAVORED". Now, I understand WWE has already trademarked the term "Mr. Future Endeavors" and is presumably giving that nickname to Johnny Ace, but they have gone all-out and put the catchphrase if you will on one of their products. It's definitely not the coolest looking shirt I've ever seen, and there's a chance it won't sell very well. But regardless of how successful Johnny Ace's shirt ends up being, there are a lot of former WWE talent (superstars, divas, referees, employees), current talent, and wrestling fans who have taken to Twitter and other social outlets to express their hatred over the t-shirt.

To be fair, I understand where their anger is coming from. To work for the WWE is a dream job for thousands of people, and I can't imagine how devastated they were the day they were informed their contract was being terminated (probably by John Laurinatis himself). Therefore, for WWE to almost parody what was a life-changing and even tragic experience for many people is in bad taste. I'm sure a lot of released WWE employees are seething over seeing those dreaded words, the same ones that they read over and over on wwe.com. Maybe some of those former employees are now asking themselves if they were released over budget issues, lack of space, or to plant the seeds for a future storyline? These people have every right in the world to be pissed once they see the shirt.

At the same time, I don't see it as too big of a deal. It's not like Laurinatis's shirt has a list of all his "victims" printed on the back. It's not as if Laurinatis or WWE are openly making fun of every released employee over the last ten years. Instead, they're taking the next step in the so-called "Reality Era" by marketing a phrase that most members of the Internet Wrestling Community make fun of, or at the very least, have heard of. People may not be fans of Laurinatis (personally I enjoy his on-air character, but that's a column for another day), but they may purchase the shirt because of their familiarity with the "Future Endeavored" line. Some people not like it, and may complain about the shirt's existence, but lo and behold, the shirt could end up being good for business.

Was printing Laurinatis's new shirt (or making him a shirt at all) a good idea? It's too early to tell. For all we know, it might never be featured on WWE television and end up hidden on wweshop.com. Or, it could end up selling out. I'm not saying that using the term "Future Endeavored" was a nice idea by WWE, but like I said at the start of the column, WWE is a business, and they want to make money. If Vince and company have to step on some people's toes and rub a former superstar the wrong way to make a few extra bucks, that's their decision. I just don't think Johnny Ace's shirt is as offensive as some people claim it to be.

But that's just my opinion. What do YOU think? Did WWE cross a line by printing the "Future Endeavored" shirt? Or are people just nit-picking again? I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts, broskis.

2. Day 384

WWE and their horrible decision-making strikes again. After weeks of building Zack Ryder up as a top face on RAW and a credible challenger to Dolph Ziggler's United States Championship, they have decided to PULL Ryder from the heavily-rumored title match at Survivor Series. DESPITE getting loud "We Want Ryder" chants on RAW over the last few weeks, DESPITE being on the receiving end of a big push, and DESPITE pinning Ziggler twice in the same match (and several times in non-title and tag team matches in past weeks), Zack Ryder will NOT be competing for the belt this Sunday. In fact, Ryder won't be competing at all.

You want to know the best part? Ryder's replacement is none other than "Job" Morrison. Yup, the same guy who's contract is rumored to be expiring sometime next month, and the same guy who got his nickname because he went on a lengthy losing streak for the majority of summer and fall 2011, is wrestling for the U.S. title instead. Not only that, but Morrison's sole victory in recent months was the one where he rolled-up Ziggler on RAW last week. Apparently, that was enough to warrant him a title match at one of the year's biggest Pay-Per-Views.

Now, what's wrong with this picture? For starters, as I mentioned earlier, WWE has been pushing Ryder as a top face on RAW, and his crowd reactions (among other things) have justified his push - not everybody is given the chance to team with John Cena in RAW's main-event. It's also worth noting that Survivor Series is taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. You know, the same state that Ryder lives and comes from, and is home to quite the smarkish crowd. I'd be really surprised if Morrison gets any pop whatsoever. Finally, I'd like to know something - WHAT THE **** DOES MORRISON STAND TO GAIN BY WINNING THE U.S. TITLE?!

Morrison is a former tag team champion, Intercontinental Champion, and even a former ECW [World?] Champion. Many people believe Morrison should be challenging for the world title by now, but he's not. He's had his chance to shine as a midcard champion, but it's time to move on. There is a lot of young talent on the roster, and Morrison does not need another run with the gold. Let someone else make a name for himself by winning the U.S. title.

In my opinion (call it biased, but I don't care), Zack Ryder is the best guy to win a midcard title at this time. He's been building a lot of momentum in recent months, and the crowd is hot for him. He's already challenged Ziggler for the title, but was screwed out of the win, which only made the fans want to see him win it even more. What better time and place for WWE to put the ball in Ryder's court than at Survivor Series in front of his kind-of hometown? It's at PPVs like Survivor Series that careers are made. Just look at 2009's show for example. The Miz, Sheamus, and Drew McIntyre had an impressive showing in their elimination match and were their team's sole survivors. Two of those men went on to win the WWE Championship by the end of 2010.

I'm not saying that Ryder facing Ziggler for the U.S. title at Survivor Series and winning would automatically make Ryder a future world champion, but it would help Ryder's career a lot more than it would Morrison's (especially if Morrison does leave next month). Once again, WWE is not giving the fans what they want by keeping Ryder off the PPV and granting Morrison yet another championship match. If you think I'm exaggerating, wait and see what happens on Sunday during the U.S. title match. While I don't expect Morrison to be booed out of the building, the crowd will likely be very pro-Ziggler, and I'm sure an audible "We Want Ryder" chant will break out.

In summary, Ryder is getting screwed AGAIN and I think it's bullshit. Even Ryder and other WWE employees have expressed their discontent by tweeting #ManhattanScrewJob in support of Long Island Iced Z. WWE, it's not hard to figure out. The fans want Ryder. They don't want Morrison, or Mason Ryan, or whoever else you want to push down their throat. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to listen to the fans. I'm just saying.

Woo Woo Woo. You Blew It (again).

3. Day 385

Writer's Note: Just letting you know, this will probably be my shortest Pay-Per-View prediction column EVER. Partly because there's only six matches confirmed, but mainly because I finished work late and my friends will be knocking on the door any minute now to drive me to the movie theater to watch Survivor Series. That being said, it's time to predict one of WWE's "Big 4" PPVs (or so they say):

WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix (c.) vs. Eve

I honestly do not care about this match, not one bit. Unlike other fans my age, I usually don't mind watching the divas wrestle on Pay-Per-Views. Tonight is a different story, though. The Divas Of Doom are quickly becoming stale, but that's probably because their characters are stuck on repeat; they lose to Kelly Kelly, Eve, and Alicia Fox in non-tile match-ups, and then defeat Aj and/or Kaitlyn to "avenge" the loss. The world is not ready for another Eve title reign, especially not at one of WWE's oldest PPVs.

Winner, and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Beth Phoenix

WWE United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c.) vs. John Morrison

If you read Day 384, then you know exactly how I feel about this match-up. Rather than repeat myself, all I'm going to say is that I'm thrilled Ziggler gets another chance to pull double-duty, but I'm disappointed with who his opponent is. There is very little doubt who's winning this one.

Winner, and STILL WWE United States Champion: Dolph Ziggler

5-On-5 Tag Team Elimination Match: Team Orton (Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, and Mason Ryan) vs. Team Barrett (Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Hunico)

Up until last Friday's episode of Smackdown!, I was pretty sure WWE would give the face team the victory, but I've changed my mind. I don't think WWE will do a repeat of last year's match when the two biggest faces (Big Show and Rey Mysterio) were their team's survivors and have Sheamus and Orton go over Team Barrett. Instead, I think the heel team will win in rather dominating fashion because there I predict three survivors: Barrett, Rhodes, and Ziggler. Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden is the perfect place to create new stars and I think WWE will give three of their rising stars a much-needed win (although a Team Orton win wouldn't shock me either).

Winners: Team Barrett (Survivors: Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler)

World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry (c.) vs. The Big Show

I see only two possible outcomes to this match, and neither one results in Big Show leaving MSG with the world title (sorry, Show fans). The first is the most likely scenario, in which the two big men put on another epic match, but this time, Henry gets a clean win over his rival. The other possibility is that WWE decides to create a new main-eventer by having Daniel Bryan cash-in on Henry after the match to win the title. I still don't believe Bryan will wait until Wrestlemania, and with the show taking place in New York City (a very smarky crowd if you didn't know) and Bryan being involved in the Show/Henry feud, tonight would be the perfect time for Bryan to cash in his briefcase unexpectedly. But to play it safe, I'll stick with Henry leaving as champion.

Winner, and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry

WWE Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c.) vs. CM Punk

Hmmm, with only two matches left on the card, I have predicted zero title changes and zero face wins. Something's got to give, right? Well, to be perfectly honest, I would be kind of surprised if WWE put the title back on Punk so early in his feud with Del Rio. Many people (myself included) think Punk winning the 2012 Royal Rumble and going on to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 28 is a more believable outcome, but Punk said something recently that struck a nerve. He said that RAW with Del Rio as champion has been boring, and he's absolutely right. I'm a fan of Del Rio, but even I can't deny that since being inserted into the RAW main-event scene at SummerSlam, RAW has been on a downhill spiral. Punk promises that if he wins the belt tonight, he'll make RAW fun again. Considering how bad the show has been in recent months, maybe it's not a bad idea to make Punk "the man" again.

Winner, and NEW WWE Champion: CM Punk

John Cena and The Rock vs. The Awesome Truth:

And it all comes down to the main-event, the reason Survivor Series sold out so quickly and will probably receive a larger buyrate than previous years - The Rock's first match in seven years. While it probably won't be a work of art, you can bet these four men will be given plenty of time to work with, and the crowd will be going ape-shit during the match. While there is a 50/50 chance of either team emerging victorious, I think Miz and Truth will get another cheap win because I see Cena hitting an AA on The Rock, costing his team the match. Why? Not a heel turn folks, but simply revenge from this year's Wrestlemania. The Rock screwed Cena out of the WWE Championship, so now Cena will return the favour by costing Rock his first match in years. Hey, makes sense to me.

Winners: The Awesome Truth

4. Day 386

Kudos to WWE. Once again, the world is talking about them. Whether they're tweeting WWE terms worldwide, or leaving idiotic comments on Facebook, wrestling fans are buzzing about Survivor Series, RAW, and this video:

Obviously, this is not just another promo video hyping the debut of a new superstar (Brodus Who?). Clearly, a big name is making his WWE return on January 2, 2012 but no two people can agree on who that superstar - or diva - is. Let's take a look at the potential candidates, though:

The Undertaker: The early frontrunner for being the man behind the video? The Deadman. It was recently reported that 'Taker and Michelle McCool had been spotted visiting WWE headquarters, presumably about one or both of them making their return in 2012. Most people expect 'Taker to wrestle his final match at Wrestlemania 28, and January is a good time as ever for him to return to television and start a feud with his Mania opponent. But there's only one problem. If Undertaker IS who "It Begins." is referring to, it would let down a lot of people, even more than 2/21/11 did. Besides, "It Begins." is creepy, but not on the same level as the 2/21/11 videos. On that presumption alone - and wishful thinking - I'm ruling out The Deadman.

Skip Sheffield: I've seen a lot of people link the video with the former Nexus member, but I'm not convinced. I was a big fan of Skip when he became Nexus's self-appointed powerhouse, as I thought he and Wade Barrett were the most talented of the entire group (sorry, Justin Gabriel). That being said, Skip has been out with an injury for MONTHS, and it's not like he was a huge name when he disappeared from television or anything. Therefore, if Skip is the man behind "It Begins.", repackaged or not, the majority of the audience will be left wondering who the hell he is. Still, I hope he does return eventually, but in a different fashion.

Kharma: Hey, not every video package/puzzle has to be about a male wrestler, does it? I remember Gail Kim was introduced through cryptic videos prior to her first run with the company; it may not have worked out so well with Gail, but that's another story. With The Divas Of Doom, Beth Phoenix and Natalya, seemingly running in place due to the lack of quality opponents, January can't come soon enough for Kharma to return and "save" the women's division. It would be a great time to start planting the seeds for a Kharma vs. Phoenix match at Wrestlemania, or even a Triple Threat match including Natalya. Sadly, there's a few problems with that scenario. At least once in the video the word "He" is used, so unless Kharma is actually a dude (like some nimrods think she is), it wouldn't make sense for it to be the former Awesome Kong. Secondly, January is way too early for Kharma to return from her pregnancy, unless her baby popped out a few months early. So unfortunately, it cannot be Kharma.

Batista: When I first heard the rumor about the video possibly being aimed at the former WWE Champion, I assumed people were grasping at straws. Batista has shown no interest in returning to WWE, and there is rarely any internet gossip about WWE reaching out to The Animal for a return. That being said, just because we haven't heard a thing about it, it doesn't mean there haven't been talks between the two parties. Did the dirt sheets predict John Cena would return and win the 2008 Royal Rumble? Did the dirt sheets know The Rock would be revealed as the guest host of Wrestlemania 27? No and no. Batista is getting closer and closer to the tender age of 50, and he knows he has little time to make an impact in any professional sport. One last run in WWE, PG or not, has to be tempting for The Animal.

Chris Jericho: If you honestly think Jericho will never return to the WWE, you are out of your mind. Unlike other top stars, Jericho didn't leave because he was fed up of the business, tired from the travel, or had nagging injuries. Jericho left partly because he was unhappy with his character's direction but mainly because he wanted to do other stuff. Chances are he won't be willing to tour with Fozzy when he's in his 50s or 60s, nor will he be invited to host or compete in many reality or game shows. Jericho left because he wanted to do everything. Now that he's been away from his true passion - wrestling - for several years, 2012 would be a good time for one last run at the top. He may be "The Best In The World At What He Does", but he won't be able to prove that in a few years. Therefore, my money is on "It Begins." being the start of Jericho's final takeover of the WWE. Our saviour will return - again. But this time, how long will he stay?

What do you guys think? Is it 'Taker? Jericho? Someone else? WHO?!

5. Day 387

It's been all but confirmed by wwe.com, but from the looks of it, former WWE Tag Team, Intercontinental, and ECW Champion John Morrison's time as a WWE Superstar is almost over. Now, I'm going to say this right off the bat - I do not dislike John Morrison. He is not my favorite superstar, whether as a face or as a heel. I did lose a lot of respect for him once the Melina relationship details came to light, but even that didn't make me hate him. Hell, I even bought his DVD last year, and although short, was thoroughly entertained by the match selection and biography. He may never be awesome on the mic, but Morrison possesses all the tools to make it huge in the WWE.

But you can forget about all that. Morrison's last appearance for the company will take place at next Monday's RAW SuperShow. You can bet WWE will come up with a nasty way to write him off television, possibly by getting his arm nearly torn off by Alberto Del Rio or maybe receiving a Skull-Crushing Finale through a table by The Miz or something. Whatever happens, don't expect Morrison to get a hero's farewell next week on RAW. If the rumors are true about both Morrison and WWE wanting nothing more to do with each other, you JoMo Sapiens might be better off skipping next week's show.

So what's next for John Morrison? The most obvious answer is that he heads south and joins TNA Wrestling. To be honest, I would not mind seeing Morrison on Impact because unlike several WWE alumni (Mr. Anderson/Kennedy comes to mind), Morrison could get some good matches out of a good portion of the roster. He may not win a promo battle against Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, or AJ Styles, but I'm sure Morrison could put on a clinic in the ring against any of those three men. Furthermore, if Morrison does go to TNA, I've read reports saying he would become the new face of the X-Division. I think that would be a great idea partly because Morrison's wrestling is perfect for the X-Division, but also because the division could use a big name centered around it, kind of like what Rey Mysterio did to the Cruiserweight Division upon debuting in WWE.

But the plot thickens, folks. ANOTHER rumor that's been gaining steam is that Melina will be joining Morrison in TNA, and they might debut as an on-screen couple. While I have no problem with Melina joining the Knockouts roster (as, love or hate her, she's a great wrestler), I don't think they should be pushed as a unit on television. For starters, are they even still dating? Nothing would be worse for Morrison than to show up in a new company and having to work with your ex-girlfriend several times per week. In addition, Morrison and Melina would probably get a lot of heat from the crowd, as there are still thousands of people who believe Melina is accountable for Morrison's "fall from grace". IF Morrison does go to TNA, he needs to stay the hell away from Melina, both backstage and on air.

Keep in mind that all this John Morrison-to-TNA talk is just that - talk. For all we know, Morrison could have resigned a contract and somebody is making up these rumors just to create interest. But let's say it's not fiction, and Morrison does leave WWE next week. TNA could potentially gain themselves a big name, while WWE would lose another top talent (keep in mind that R-Truth was suspended for thirty days yesterday as well). Suddenly, there are a lot of open slots to fill up on RAW. I have a feeling WWE will simply fill the void with Smackdown! talent for the time being, but wouldn't it be better to take this time and use some of their unused talent. Alex Riley could be brought back as a heel, Drew McIntyre could start being booked dominantly again, even someone who never really got a chance like Curt Hawkins or Tyler Reks could be brought to RAW and receive a mini-push. If they start getting over, great, keep them on television. If not, send them back to Superstars. It's worth a try.

For all his faults, it's hard to deny that John Morrison was a great asset to WWE. He constantly put on solid matches, and was fairly popular for a midcard talent. If given the right push or feud, I'm sure Morrison would have found his way into the main-event eventually. Sadly, that's not going to happen. WWE is losing a superstar who has won numerous championships and has been performing for them since the days of Eric Bischoff as RAW General Manager. In this day and age, that's a pretty long time.

I hate to repeat myself, but I liked Morrison and I still do. It's just a shame nobody will ever argue that he was the Marty Jannetty and The Miz was the Shawn Michaels of their epic tag team.

6. Day 388

Today's column is going to be a bit different today. Recently on Twitter, fellow Main Page columnists Hustle, Romeo, and myself were all asked a question by longtime reader, Sean. Basically, Sean asked us to come up with the ultimate Elimination Chamber match, but on the condition that six wrestling companies were represented - AWA, ECW, WCW, TNA, ROH, and WWE - and we could not pick two guys who have never appeared on television for another company. In other words, we can't include both John Cena and Randy Orton (WWE-only), and we can't pick both Crimson and Gunner (TNA-only), but we could choose Mick Foley and Sting (ECW, NWA, TNA, WWE). Complicated? Maybe. Fun? That's the goal. Without further ado, I present to you my dream Elimination Chamber match:

Shawn Michaels (AWA)

When The Midnight Rockers debuted in AWA, they wasted no time showing off their speed and athleticism. Who would have thouught that Shawn Michaels would go on to become one of the most popular superstars in wrestling history? As most people know, Michaels boasts quite the resume of classic matches. It doesn't matter if HBK competed in a standard singles match, a ladder match, or even an unsanctioned brawl - Michaels could always be counted on to tear the house down, regardless of his opponent. Considering that he won the world heavyweight title in the very first Elimination Chamber match, it would be almost ludicrous to exclude The Heartbreak Kid from a match that, win or lose, he would give 110% in.

Sabu (ECW)

I know the Internet Wrestling Community has never been high on Sabu (although RVD has always been high with Sabu), but damn, was that guy crazy or what? Even when he briefly competed for WWE in the mid-2000s, Sabu was so unpredictable in the ring you couldn't help but fear for his own well-being. Sabu may have been a human spot machine, but I will never forget some of his matches and the stunts he pulled. It's that motivation that made me realize Sabu needs to compete in another Elimination Chamber match. Every Chamber match needs a crazy mother****er willing to put his life on the line - Sabu is that guy.

Chris Jericho (WCW)

It doesn't matter which Chris Jericho shows up at Elimination Chamber - both Y2J and Lionheart are amazing wrestlers. Much like Shawn Michaels, I don't think Jericho has ever wrestled a bad match. Not only that, but Jericho's size is perfect for the Chamber. He's small enough to climb on top of a pod quickly and great ease, but he's also big enough not to be crushed by some of the match's powerhouses. Jericho's cunning and ability to improvise on the spot could really help move the match along if things get stale. Including both HBK and Jericho in this match is a no-brainer, if you ask me.

Matt Morgan (TNA)

I didn't want to clutter the match with nothing but powerhouses, so I settled on just two, and Morgan was my first choice. Why? For a seven-footer, Morgan is surprisingly quick in the ring, and he can bump like a guy half his size. I've been a fan of Morgan's since his feud with Kurt Angle, and like many fans, feel Morgan is one of the best guys in TNA to not win a world title. Anyways, Morgan could add a large, dominating presence to the Chamber without slowing down the pace like other "monsters". Morgan may not be as big of a name like AJ Styles or Samoa Joe, but I feel he's the best man to represent TNA in this match.

Shelton Benjamin (ROH)

When discussing the most "athletically-gifted" superstars in wrestling history, the name Shelton Benjamin comes to most people's minds. Not only did he steal the show in every Money in the Bank ladder match he competed in, but since joining ROH, Benjamin has proved he hasn't missed a step in the ring. Considering that the other high-fliers are in their 40s or older, Benjamin provides a youth factor that could assist the veterans in pulling off some of the more difficult spots. Benjamin has always been ridiculed for not being a good promo guy, but between the ropes, Benjamin is a valuable asset. The Elimination Chamber match is no exception.

Triple H (WWE)

Shocked? You shouldn't be. Of all the people on the current WWE roster, Triple H has competed in more Cage, Hell In A Cell, and Elimination Chamber matches than nearly anyone. Not only that, but The Game is successful more often than not. Despite all the hate he gets from the IWC (some of that hate involves "burying" CM Punk, of course), Triple H is still one of the better performers to lace up a pair of wrestling boots. Whether he uses his power to his advantage, or if he technically dissects his opponents, The Cerebral Assassin is a dangerous competitor in this type of environment.

Just to recap, here's what my "dream" Elimination Chamber card would look like:

Shawn Michaels vs. Sabu vs. Chris Jericho vs. Matt Morgan vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Triple H

Not a bad-looking match, if I dare say so myself. It's also interesting to point out that each man has competed in the WWE at some point in time. So although there's no Hulk Hogan or Rock or Cena, there's definitely some name value to be found within.

What do you guys think? What would YOUR ultimate Elimination Chamber match look like?

7. Day 389

I'm sure all you HIPE fans have noticed that Hustle is yet to post this week's RAW Running Diary, something that has become a Lords of Pain tradition for nearly two years now. I have honestly no idea why Hustle hasn't posted, but I'm assuming there's some kind of power outage in Hawaii, from where he resides. Chances are he'll be back before we know it.

But in the meantime, I'll be happy to share with you MY thoughts on last night's episode of RAW. It will not be a Running Diary, but a list of Pros & Cons instead (I can't steal ALL of Hus's ideas, right?). Enjoy, broskis.

PRO: The Miz is getting his career back on track

R-Truth's 30-Day suspension was a blessing in disguise for The Miz. The Awesome Truth were entertaining, and at one point it looked like both superstars were getting over as mega-heels, but the company dropped the ball with them. One week they were this cool, rebellious duo who showed up at random times and beat up random people, but by the following week, they were made to look like CM Punk and Triple H's bitches (and later, Rock and Cena's bitches). Despite main-eventing Survivor Series, The Awesome Truth were losing momentum FAST.

But then Miz decided enough was enough (or WWE decided to suspend Truth - whichever came first) and made a statement by taking out his partner last week with a Skull-Crushing-Finale, effectively ending the partnership. Last night, Miz followed that up by not only DESTROYING John Morrison, but cutting one of his better promos in quite some time. Unlike some people, I do not find Miz's promos repetitive, but the one he delivered last night was simply excellent. No one took The Awesome Truth seriously partly because of the rapping, partly because of the booking. In the span of eight days, Miz has refocused his career and is starting to look like the former WWE Champion that he is.

By the way, you might as well as book Miz vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble right now.

PRO: Daniel Bryan is no one-trick pony

Even some of "D-Bryan's" biggest supporters will admit that since joining WWE, one of the main reasons Bryan is getting over as a face is due to his amazing wrestling ability. Also, he isn't the largest wrestler on the roster, and fans love supporting an underdog. However, last night Bryan cut one of the best promos since his days in NXT (ironically, both involved Michael Cole). Bryan put so much passion into his words, that you couldn't help but consider the possibility that maybe - just maybe - Bryan has a chance of defeating Mark Henry tonight and becoming the new world heavyweight champion (for real this time).

On a side note, I hope Bryan's promo last night proved he does not suck when given an open mic. I'm still not digging the beard, though.

CON: Jack Swagger's awful booking

Don't get confused, people. No one was happier than yours truly to see Zack Ryder win another match on RAW (cleanly, I might add). I just feel bad it was at the expense of The All-American American.

I have honestly no idea what they're doing with Swagger. Pairing him up with Dolph and Vickie seemed like a step in the right direction, but it doesn't seem like his win/loss record has greatly improved. Even at Survivor Series, Swagger was only tagged in once, and had a rather unimpressive showing. Personally, I think it would be a good idea to turn Swagger face as his character has become really stale - it would take a miracle to remind fans that "badass" Swagger is a former world champion.

Hey, isn't RAW low on faces right now? Well, there you go! Turn Swagger face for the first time in his WWE career - problem solved.

PRO: Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler

Was this match better than Ziggler vs. Punk from last week's show? OF COURSE NOT, but it was still really good. I always hate when people do that. They see a superstar go out and have a 4-star match and are disappointed when the same guy's next match isn't that great. Like, seriously, get the **** out of here with that mentality. You want Ziggler to sacrifice his body like a piece of meat, have him do nothing but crazy moves twenty-minutes straight, week after week? Fine. Just don't be surprised when Ziggler is forced to retire VERY PREMATURELY because of injury.

Anyways, back to Ziggler vs. Orton, I thought it was a strong match, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Ziggler pick up the win. Hey, what do you know, Super Orton isn't indestructible! If I recall correctly, Orton has put over Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, and now Dolph Ziggler in a matter of MONTHS. I'm sure Triple H must be spitting in his grave right now.

Seriously though, what a huge victory for Ziggler. Cue the "Ziggler's main-eventing Wrestlemania" rumors.

CONS: The Divas

So wait, RAW was re-written at least 512 times, but they still found time to include this "match". **** Kelly Kelly, she is absolutely worthless. I know they're trying to build up Alicia Fox as Beth's next challenger, but as long as Kelly is at her side, I can't take Alicia seriously.

Also, what the **** was the point of Beth and Natalya doing laps around the ring? What were they doing, training for the Olympics? I just don't get it.

PRO: Piper's Pit

Many people (myself included) figured Piper's Pit was taking place in order to keep the Rock vs. Cena going. Instead, what we got was something totally unexpected - Roddy Piper of all people planting the seeds for a Cena heel turn. Now, I don't want to discuss the possibility of John Cena turning heel before, during, or after Wrestlemania 28 (that's another column for another day), but all I'm going to say is, it will happen one day. I don't know when it will happen, or how, but Cena will one day join the dark side. Last night, you could tell Cena was troubled by Piper's words, but he did not "blow his gasket". In my opinion, that was the way to go. Cena will not turn heel overnight, it has to be a slow burn. Was last night the beginning of a long journey to other side? Only time will tell.

CON: CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio

The reason I have the main-event listed as a con is because the payoff did not match the hype. For starters, the match was promoted and plugged all-night long, but the guys only got fifteen minutes most to work with, and it felt very uninspired, unlike their match at Survivor Series. Also, the ending seemed to come out of nowhere. Del Rio lost because his head bounced off the exposed turnbuckle and Punk rolled him up. No GTS, no Anaconda Vise. It almost seemed like Punk had little difficulty defeating Del Rio, the same man who had been WWE Champion for nearly two months. Bad booking on WWE's part, making Del Rio look weak, especially if the two are to face off one more time at TLC next month.

Remember when I said I wouldn't rip-off Hustle? Yeah, I lied:

#ThankYouHustle: Piper's Pit planting the seeds for a Cena heel turn (one day)...The Miz taking out John Morrison...The Miz's post-match promo...Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton...Ziggler's headstand...Daniel Bryan's promo...Zack Ryder getting another win on RAW

#****YouPeopleWhoEatAtMcDonaldsAt4am: Brodus Clay's debut being pushed back ANOTHER week...The Divas Division in general...David Otunga and his stupid bow-tie getting television time...Jack Swagger's bad booking...Del Rio vs. Punk being a major let-down

Grade: C+/B-


Song Of The Day:

Well, I gave it my best shot. It was no Running Diary, but hopefully this column was a tad more entertaining than your usual RAW recap. Also, I'm sure Hustle would want me to remind you to vote for the HUSSY AWARDS, if you haven't already done so.

Want to leave some feedback? I know you do!

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Until next time, ciao!

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