Kane opens Raw with a creepy promo on Cena. Apparently Kane and Hate are now synonymous terms. Kane antagonizes Zack Ryder tonight in the promo. Has anyone else forgotten that the guy behind the mask is the same guy who didn’t wear the mask for 8.5 years and was REALLY boring for 8 of them? Because that really did happen in case you forget. Cena interrupts and these guys brawl to the backstage area. Kane disappears after he knocks Cena into a pile of garbage. Commercial break. Random opening to the show that once again focuses on John Cena and ignores the WWE Title scene. Nice going WWE.
Wade Barrett and Jinder Mahal take on Santino Marella and Sheamus next. These four guys are all confirmed for the Royal Rumble. I don’t predict any of these four as the most likely winner in my next column. The match lasts three full minutes before Santino gets the pinfall on Mahal after using the cobra. I love seeing Santino on a roll! The fans seem to love him as well. I’m sure we’ll see more from these guys on Smackdown this week and watch the storyline build as we head towards the Rumble.
The Miz has words with John Laurinaitis in his office. Miz wants protection. Laurinaitis wants to give us the update for the show and Rumble. JL refers to himself as Big Johnny. Terrible.
Edge is announced as the first inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012! I can’t say enough good things about Edge and the career that he had in WWE. I have something special planned for a March column on the Rated R Superstar.
Miz is shown talking to Mason Ryan. It appears he’s looking for a bodyguard after what he said to JL about wanting protection. Ryan doesn’t look interested. Good thing, since nobody is interested in seeing Ryan anywhere near a ring again.
Zack Ryder is on the phone. Eve comes into the scene. Ryder asks her out. She says yes but not until after she has her match. Ryder seems scared and Kane comes into the picture after Ryder leaves the scene.
Daniel Bryan takes on Kofi Kingston in a non title match. This one lasts less than two minutes and Bryan has Kofi in the labell lock for the win. Disappointing match here for these two as I was expecting a lot more. The talent between the two of these guys gave this match a lot of potential. Unfortunately we’ve grown to realize that WWE doesn’t care all that much about following through on the potential for great matches and storylines. I guess this helps Bryan as a heel and helps Michael Cole look more like a face again. Big Show comes down while Bryan is celebrating. Bryan acts like a heel and pretends to be nice. Show tells Bryan they have a no DQ rematch this Friday on Smackdown. Since you know this will lead to another lousy finish, you can expect these guys to finally have a legitimate match at the Royal Rumble with Mark Henry possibly involved. Show shakes Bryan’s hand before leaving the ring. Cole goes against Bryan with his comments and makes himself look like a face. Blurring the lines once again?
Brodus Clay makes his debut as the funkasaurus. Really? Somehow this happy dancing character just doesn’t match the vignettes that we were getting before for the “monster” Brodus. Brodus takes on Curt Hawkins. Talk about a blast from the past; I didn’t expect Hawkins to make it back to WWE tv, but good for him. Brodus squashes Hawkins and dances with his ladies after the match. Well, it definitely wasn’t the typical monster heel gimmick that we were all expecting with Brodus’ comeback. Guess WWE can be somewhat unpredictable after all.
Zack Ryder is shown talking to himself in the bathroom while brushing his teeth. Has Raw become Zack’s youtube show or what? Ryder looks around scared before leaving the bathroom.
Miz is shown trying to recruit Primo and Epico for bodyguards. They don’t appear interested. Punk walks past Miz after and Miz just storms away. Punk and Miz have some major potential for a future WWE Title rivalry. The more I see of Miz’s character on Raw, the more I think he could be one of the top two guys on the show down the road(face or heel).
Jack Swagger has Dolph Ziggler and Vicky in his corner for his match with CM Punk. Interesting that halfway through the show is the first time we see the WWE Champion on our tv screens. I’m not sure if this is how I would book my WWE Champion. Johnny Ace interrupts before this match can start. Ace tells Punk that Vicky and Swagger will be banned from ringside at the Rumble if Punk can beat Swagger right now. Johnny then announces that Dolph will go one on one with John Cena tonight to stay in shape for the ppv. I love how Cena gets the opening of the show with Kane, and is now given the main event to take on Dolph Ziggler. Cena might as well be the champion is this how the booking is going to continue. This was a great match from these guys, only to have the finish ruined when the ref accidentally counted the three count on Swagger when he kicked out. I believe Swagger was supposed to kick out and Punk was supposed to lock in the anaconda vice for the victory. Botching three counts on a live show. What will they think of next? On the other hand, this may have been intentional to add to the storyline for JL to now say what a fair ref he will be at the Rumble and make sure mistakes like that won’t happen.
Ryder and Cena are shown backstage. Cena continues to put over Ryder. Cena walks away and Ryder still looks around nervous wherever he is. I like the scared Ryder storyline for the show. If WWE insists on doing something to make evil Kane seems more legit, this is the perfect way to do it. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy for humor, but it works with a character like Ryder’s.
Ricardo Rodriguez is shown talking to the Bella twins before Miz interrupts. Miz intimidates Ricardo into going to the ring to call out R-Truth. The Bellas don’t want to join him. Possible Del Rio/Miz feud in the future to help Miz with his face turn eventually? It’s a nice thought.
The Four Horsemen are announced as the next inductee into the 2012 Hall of Fame class! Nobody in that group at this point deserves the honor more than Arn Anderson. I wonder if we’ll see Flair at the induction ceremony while he’s working for TNA.
Ricardo stands in the ring taunting Truth until he comes to the ring. Truth looks amused as he makes his way to the ring. Truth taunts Ricardo. He bullies Ricardo into singing the cockroach song. Truth eventually knocks Ricardo down, only to be jumped by the Miz. Truth recovers quickly and chases Miz into the crowd. Truth’s crazy gimmick might be funny, but this segment with Ricardo was a complete waste of time.
Jericho is out next after he is put over by Justin Roberts as being the first undisputed WWE Champion. Jericho once again says nothing, but bursts into tears before leaving. I love how Jericho said the only way he would come back was if he could reinvent himself, and here he is doing something completely original. Two weeks in a row of getting the most cheers of the night and not saying a word to the audience. That’s talent on the part of Y2J. I’m excited to see him wrestle again also.
Eve comes out next for her match and Kane’s music hits. She looks scared as Ryder comes down and gets her and they run to the back. Ryder puts Eve in the car to leave but realizes the tire is flat. Ryder goes to change the tire as Eve watches on from inside the vehicle. See no evil part 2 anybody? After the commercial Ryder is shown almost having the spare tire put on.
Dolph Ziggler is taking on John Cena in the main event. Cena appears to get more cheers than boos from this crowd. Strange audience. These two give the crowd a solid match until Ryder is shown on the jumbo tron getting attacked by Kane. Cena eventually gets himself freed from Ziggler and runs to the back after seeing Ryder get chokeslammed by Kane onto a wooden pallet. Cena gets ambushed by Kane when he goes out the door and gets put in that weird facegrip until he is unconscious. Raw goes off the air with a closeup on angry Kane.
I like Cena and Kane having a feud, but I don’t like that it has become the primary focus of the show. There are other important aspects to Monday Night Raw, such as the WWE Title that should be focused on more.
This show was full of short segments. It wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but it only had one actual match with Punk and Swagger(easily match of the night). Swagger doesn’t get enough credit. Despite his lack of personality, he can carry a match with the best of them and does so on a regular basis. I’m excited to see what other Hall of Fame inductees there will be this year. Jericho continued to amaze us with his lack of words, and Zack Ryder got more tv time tonight than he’s ever had(also a welcome back to tv for his former partner, Curt Hawkins). Overall, a good show but I wanted more wrestling. It’s to be expected from Monday shows. Royal Rumble winner column will be up soon. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!