My Two Centsss - RAW: Pros & Cons (December 31, 2012)
By Super Chrisss
Jan 1, 2013 - 2:17:29 PM
Writer's Note: Happppy New Year! I know some of you entered 2013 almost twenty-four hours ago, but the rest of us are still catching up. Since there is basically nothing to do today (no gym, no work, no shopping), I figured what better way to kick off the year than to bring back an old MTC tradition - pros & cons. Last night's New Year's Eve edition of RAW was a lot better than the December 24th RAW (with the exception of one segment/angle, but I'll get to that later). So drink up that champagne, throw that girl you hooked up with last night out the door, and let's talk some wrestling, shall we?
PRO: Miz TV (finally) ended well for The Miz
Love or hate The Miz as a babyface (you should give it a chance before you bash it, by the way), seeing Miz and John Cena's 'forced' friendship was kind of cool, especially when you remember how many times they've wrestled each other the past few years. Thankfully, the attention shifted quickly from the Cena/Aj scandal to a verbal exchange with The Rhodes Scholars, which led to an impromptu match-up between two teams you never thought you'd see together at the start of 2012. Oh, and Damien Sandow's over-the-top crowd berating (see: SILENCE!!!) cracks me up everytime, and even Cena getting up-and-close with Cody's mustache got a laugh out of me as well.
Anyways, I enjoyed the tag team match, but I also like how Miz TV was finally used the right way - to get over all the 'guests' and set up a match. Rather than WWE going with their usual lazy booking style and announcing Miz/Cena vs. Rhodes Scholars ahead of time for no real reason, we the fans understood why they were fighting, which I thought was a nice touch. Rhodes & Sandow looked strong in defeat, and Cena did a nice job of putting Miz over as a face. Great way to kick off RAW.
PRO: Champion's Choice
Last night, WWE introduced a new concept on RAW - for one night only, every title would be defended, but the champions were allowed to pick their opponents. So, it was basically Night of Champions mixed with TNA's Championship Thursday with a touch of Open Fight Night sprinkled in as well. The result? Some interesting television. The first title bout of the evening saw Antonio Cesaro defend the United States Championship against...Sgt. Slaughter? On any other episode, this probably would have been a con, since Slaughter is even less mobile than he was ten years ago, but it all fit together. It was the final RAW of 2012, the show took place in Washington, the nation's capital, and who better to try and dethrone the evil foreigner than the sarge (although my pick was Hacksaw Jim Duggan). The match was short, but Slaughter got a good pop, even came close to beating Cesaro at one point, but the real story was Cesaro getting put over big time by a WWE Hall of Famer and getting himself even more heat from the audience.
PRO: Punk, Heyman, a doctor, and the Boss
You've got to love CM Punk. Even though he has been out of action for nearly a month, he has found a way to make every one of his appearances worth tuning into (even though he's basically repeating the same thing). Last night, he tried to squirm his way out of his TLC match against Ryback next week by having a doctor from Chicago declare him medically unclear to compete. Surprisingly enough, it was Vince McMahon of all people who crashed the party and said Punk would be evaluated by WWE doctors next Monday to determine if he is indeed unable to compete. Should that be the case, Paul Heyman will face Ryback instead.
Of all the participants involved, I thought Heyman was the star of the segment as he hammed it up once McMahon hit the ring, with Punk more than holding his own as the whiny WWE Champion (his constant rolling of the eyes whenever The Shield and Brad Maddox are brought up is hilarious). Personally, i think a clean victory over Ryback would have Punk looking strong going into his title match with The Rock at the Royal Rumble, but WWE shouldn't risk possibly injuring the champ. Couldn't they have just booked a regular one-on-one title match, not one involving tables, ladders, and chairs?
CON: Sheamus vs. Ziggler, for the 18th time in 2012
When I was doing some research for my top seven greatest matches of 2012 countdown, I came upon an interesting statistic. Did you know Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler have had the most televised/Pay-Per-View one-on-one matches than any other two men in WWE or TNA? There have been more Sheamus vs. Ziggler matches than Sheamus vs. Del Rio, Del Rio vs. any member of the former Del Rio JOB Squad, Sheamus vs. Big Show, John Cena vs. Big Show, or Aj Styles vs. Christopher Daniels matches. Think about that for a second. I've seen plenty of people (myself included) complain about how many times we've seen the above matches, but none of them compare to the sheer number of Ziggler/Sheamus matches, and last night, we got another one. What's worse, Ziggler has only won ONCE via pinfall - the rest have been either Sheamus victories, count-outs, or disqualifications. Think about that for a second. Considering both guys have bright futures ahead of them, Kane vs. Big Show might have some serious competition for most over-done match in WWE history!
Anyways, their match last night was good as always, and (surprise, surprise) ended by disqualification when The Shield interfered, but it set up something cool a bit later on.
PRO: 3MB get some time to shine
With The Shield chosen by Vickie Guerrero as Ryback's opponents for the night, Team Hell No had to search for challengers elsewhere. They found 3MB and chose them as their 'lucky' opponents to defend the tag team titles against. Believe it or not, this was NOT a squash match, as 3MB - Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre - got in a lot of offense on Kane and Bryan. The tag team titles were never in jeopardy, but like the opening contest, the heel team looked strong in defeat. The WWE tag team division continues to shine, and my only complaint about this match is what took place outside the ring...
CON: Jerry Lawler and his "jokes"
I've said it a million times before and I'll say it again. I am truly happy Lawler was able to 'kick out' of his near-death experience last September, but the man has nothing left to offer on commentary. I don't know what's worse - having to sit through his terrible one-liners for three hours, or hearing Michael Cole awkwardly laugh to not hurt Lawler's feelings. I would be less critical if Lawler called the action and threw in a joke here and there, but when he spends half of the tag team title match asking Cole what he got for Christmas or what 3MB got for Christmas, that's when you have to draw the line. An announcer's job is to get the talent inside the ring over, not talk about yourself or irrelevant topics. JBL, Scott Stanford, Matt Striker, even Josh Mathews - all these guys do a much better job on commentary than Lawler has been doing for years now, and it's time for Vince to realize that. Just give the man a legends deal and have him appear every once and a while, ala Mick Foley. Lawler's commentary can't even be considered commentary anymore.
PRO: Del Rio's face turn gone...right?
I know a lot of people on the internet are already complaining about Del Rio and his face turn (running over Santa Claus last week didn't do him any favours) but I thought WWE did a nice job getting him over last night. Ricardo Rodriguez is such a lovable character and having Del Rio lend him his towel and his car for his match with The Big Show showed a different side to the Black Hole of Charisma. Having Del Rio ringside for Show vs. Rodriguez allowed Del Rio to come in for the save on his 'hermano', and while many people dread the thought of a Del Rio/Big Show feud, I'm okay with it. I like Del Rio as a face, and I think he might finally show some personality as time goes on. Besides, I don't think I can sit through another Big Show vs. Sheamus match.
CON: Mae Young and Hornswoggle
If you thought Santa getting run over last week was a stupid angle, that was nothing compared to Mae Young showing up to a New Year's Eve party, becoming pregnant (which as everyone knows, is impossible at her age), going into labour, and giving birth the same night. If that wasn't bad enough, we got something worse than a hand - Hornsfuckingwoggle "popped out" of her womb.
Seriously, WWE? Seriously? I'm mature enough to suspend my disbelief that on Christmas Eve, Santa can be run over and miraculously brought back to life, but to have a 90-something-year-old Mae Young take up over five minutes of air time just to 'give birth' to that retardation of a wrestling character, Hornswoggle, is beyond fucking stupid. Nobody gives a fuck about him and they never will. It's these kinds of angles that make people laugh at your product and change the channel. What a waste of time.
Oh, and this all led to a brawl between Eve and Kaitlyn. k
PRO: A new champion is crowned
The final title match of the evening was also the best, with Kofi Kingston defending his Intercontinental Championship against Wade Barrett. These two always have good matches with each other, and last night was no exception, and it was interesting that Cole noted that Barrett claims 99/100 times, Barrett will defeat Kofi, with last night being further proof to that statistic, as Barrett dodged a CrossBody to nail The Bullhammer and win his second IC title. Even though WWE spoiled the title change over the weekend, it was fun seeing it transpire on television, and Barrett was clearly overjoyed by his victory. Let's just hope his second title reign will be more fulfilling than his last. As for Kofi, you have to wonder if he'll continue to flounder in the midcard, or finally move up the card.
PRO: The Shield gets cornered
Another match that never got started because it turned into a brawl was The Shield vs. Ryback in a three-on-one handicap match. Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns beat down Ryback in the ring, until Sheamus, who they attacked earlier, ran down to make the save. Even The Great White got his ass kicked, and The Shield were in firm control until Randy Orton randomly returned to RAW and wasted no time getting his Super Orton back in gear (with his beard back in town as well). The Shield retreated, but they did a pretty good job beating up a couple of WWE's top babyfaces first. However, no matter how strong the newcomers have looked since their debut, I wouldn't put my money on them if they're booked to face Orton, Sheamus, and Ryback in a six-man tag team match in the near future...
PRO: "Cena, this is your crappy, crappy 2012"
The Show-Off came out for the final segment of RAW to recap John Cena's terrible year and say what most of the IWC already knew - how the hell did Cena win Superstar of the year? Using his WWE Download experience, Ziggler narrated Cena's losses to The Rock, Big Johnny, CM Punk, and Ziggler himself before Cena came out to defend himself. Cena was in serious mode which made for an interesting promo, as he had a good line about Cena having an excellent decade in WWE, while it took Ziggler seven years to finally have one good year. He also ran down all of Aj's past flames of 2012, and it's hard to name another celebrity who's hooked up with more guys than Aj (except maybe Taylor Swift). The segment ended with "poop" falling down on the happy couple in the middle of the ring, and Cena wishing everyone a happy new year. k
YouTube It: The second half of Miz TV: Cena & Miz vs. Rhodes Scholars; Punk's promo; Rodriguez vs. Big Show; Barrett vs. Kofi; The New Year's Toast.
Avoid it: All of the New Year's Eve backstage segments except the one with Vickie, Punk, and Heyman; Sheamus vs. Ziggler if you've seen it enough; the commentary all night long.
Grade: B- A definite improvement from last week's RAW, with a lot of storyline advancement, no squash matches, a new Intercontinental Champion, and a great war of words between Cena and Team Rhodes Scholars as well as Cena and Ziggler.
Did You Know?
2012 was the first year the WWE Championship did not change hands since 1987.
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I'm out for now, see you next time!