Live from Newark, New Jersey this is the Raw Deal for episode #1020. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
I'm going to be changing the way I write about the matches on Raw a bit. I don't feel like giving a full play by play of every move is necessary. I'll give all the key details on them, of course. When there are pay-per-views I'll stick to play by play for those matches.
Guy Voiceover (I gave him that name) narrated the opening video as usual. The video focused on The Shield's attack from last week and then Ryback taking out CM Punk last week. It also covered the ongoing storyline between Dolph Ziggler and John Cena. Remember when Cena was selling the knee injury? Didn't last long. I like this opening video to set up the show. It's well produced.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler as usual. The set around the ring and up the entrance ramp had tables, ladders and chairs. I'm sure the fans appreciated the ladders obstructing their view.
To begin the show, Dolph Ziggler was standing near the top of a ladder while the Money in the Bank briefcase was hanging down from the ceiling. He said it's six days until the TLC PPV and fifteen days until Christmas. He called John Cena the golden boy and pointed out that despite a lot of opportunities Cena has failed to get the WWE Title. He said now Santa Claus (Vince McMahon) has forced him to put his MITB contract on the line. Ziggler said it won't be a Merry Christmas for Cena. He said emphatically: "I am going to beat John Cena." He said after he beats Cena he's going to cash in his Money in the Bank contract to become the greatest World Heavyweight Champion of all time.
The music of Sheamus started up as the number one contender to the World Title walked down to the ring. There was a clip from Friday's Smackdown when Big Show and Sheamus signed a "no contact" contract that prevents them from hitting eachother before TLC on Sunday.
Sheamus congratulated Ziggler for being taller than everybody because he was on the ladder. Sheamus said he would be the one that Ziggler would have to cash in his briefcase against. Sheamus didn't think Ziggler would beat Cena, so that means it will be he (Sheamus) vs. Cena for the World Title somewhere down the line. I guess that means Cena couldn't cash in on the WWE Title, so at least there's some continuity there.
The World Champion Big Show stood at the top of the stage. He said because of the "no contact" clause he can't attack Sheamus right now. Show said he'd knock out anybody that comes after him. Show said he hadn't decided if he would knock out Sheamus or if he would take his skins off his bones with a steel chair. Sheamus tried a joke. It didn't work. Sheamus said just because he couldn't have contact with Show did not mean that he couldn't have contact with somebody else. Sheamus shoved Ziggler off the ladder. Ziggler took an unnecessary bump with his legs hitting the top rope. It looked like he was trying to square himself, but he went all the way to the floor.
Analysis: If you're wondering why Ziggler was near the top of the ladder for about ten minutes, it was because he had to take a bump off a ladder all the way to the floor. The show opening promo between the three guys didn't really accomplish much except for each of them to say they were going to win their respective matches at TLC. I thought Ziggler's promo was well done. He's really improved in that aspect in the past few months. Part of it is that he's been given the opportunity to speak for himself and that goes a long way in terms of allowing him to improve in the promo department.
Backstage, Vince McMahon was shown walking. He was making his way to the ring. At least they're not shocked he's on the show this week.
Later on Raw it's John Cena vs. Big Show.
Wade Barrett was in the ring. Antonio Cesaro and Kofi Kingston joined the announcers at their table.
Vince McMahon entered the arena. I guess it was important to put him on before the big NFL game starting later in the hour. He was excited about Big Show vs. John Cena later in the show. He introduced Vickie Guerrero. McMahon suggested another main event match for Raw and mentioned Sheamus. He mentioned something into Vickie's ear, so she yelled out "Dolph Ziggler" in a surprised way. I guess she didn't see the first segment? Vince wanted another match. Vickie suggested AJ Lee in a match. McMahon said that's fine and he named Vickie as AJ's opponent later. Vickie wasn't happy.
Analysis: Vince must think these segments where he suggests matches to Vickie are entertaining. They're filler. Vickie vs. AJ is a "main event" type match? Oh the standards have fallen so far.
Wade Barrett vs. R-Truth
The reason the guys are at commentary is because Barrett is facing Kingston while Truth is facing Cesaro at TLC even though Cesaro already beat Truth at Survivor Series. Barrett dominated the action early by taking it to the floor and then getting a boot to the face for a two count. Barrett continued the attack, but Truth countered into an inside cradle for the victory. The match went about two minutes.
Post match, Truth bragged about his win in front of Cesaro. Kingston hit a top rope cross body block on Barrett.
Analysis: I didn't expect the match to be that short. It's probably a good sign for Barrett that he got pinned in two minutes because with the way WWE likes to book things, that could mean he's going to win the IC Title on Sunday at TLC.
There's a four way elimination tag match after the break.
In the backstage area, AJ was happy that she was put in a match with Vickie. She bumped into Aksana. Then she saw Kaitlyn and gave her a hug. AJ walked into the men's locker room again where she found John Cena. She gave him a hug. He quickly got her out of there while holding up a t-shirt to block the other dudes in the room that we assume were not clothed.
Analysis: Weird segment.
Fatal Four Way Elimination Tag: The Usos vs. Primetime Players vs. Primo & Epico vs. Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes
This is the return of Rhodes after being out for the last month with a concussion and shoulder injury. The winners of this match get to face Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara in a Tables match at the TLC pay-per-view. I should point out that Rhodes has a mustache. Instant heat for looking ridiculous. The rules are two guys in the ring at the same time while the other teams stand on the apron. The Usos started off with Primo & Epico as Cole wondered if Lawler googled a joke. Primo was in control of the action in the early going. Usos eliminated Primo & Epico after a splash off the top rope. They went to break after an O'Neil clothesline.
Back from break, the Usos teamed up to eliminate the Primetime Players following a top rope splash. That happened during the commercial break. That meant The Usos eliminated two teams. It was down to The Usos and Team Rhodes Scholars.
Analysis: I'm not a fan of an elimination during the break. They did mention you can see it on the WWE App, but this show is three hours long. You should show eliminations during the live broadcast.
Cody Rhodes tagged in and there was a "Cody's mustache" chant. It's a great way to get heat, that's for sure. Team Rhodes Scholars isolated one of the Usos, but then he broke free from Rhodes. Hot tag leading to a kick to the gut and a Samoan Drop. Running butt splash in the corner Umaga style got two. Announcers said it was like Rikishi. That would be a stinkface. A third splash attempt was blocked by Sandow. Top rope splash was attempted, Rhodes got his knees up and then Rhodes hit the Cross Rhodes for the win after 11 minutes.
Winners: Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow
Analysis: ** That was an entertaining tag match. I'm glad that the Usos got a lot of time in the ring to show what they can do in a longer match. It's rare to see them on Raw, so kudos to them for taking advantage of the opportunity. It's not a surprise that Sandow & Rhodes won the match because they're likely to beat Mysterio & Sin Cara on Sunday leading to a future tag title match. The crowd was really into the match too, so that’s a good sign as well. Hopefully management remembers how well the Usos did here because they're a team you can put the titles on down the line if you continue to build them up.
They reminded us of the matches we'll see later.
Eve and Alicia Fox were shown backstage in preparation for a match. I wonder if Eve scouted the legendary Melina vs. Alicia Fox match to prepare.
Analysis: The music they play when the divas are walking backstage is probably the same song they play when somebody is about to sit in the electric chair. It's that bad.
Next week are the WWE Slammy Awards. You can only vote on the WWE App, which is WWE's way of screwing people who have a phone that can't get that App. Those are usually a trainwreck with a few bright spots. I'll be writing about them live next Monday on TJRWrestling.com.
Eve vs. Alicia Fox
This is non-title. Eve got an entrance. Alicia was already in the ring. Nice headscissors takedown by Alicia. Eve slid out of the ring and then Alicia brought her back in. The crowd was dead for this match. Nice bridging Northern Lights suplex by Alicia. Alicia got a backbreaker for two. Eve took advantage of Alicia going to the top rope and she pulled her down. Eve hit her neckbreaker finisher for the win after about three minutes.
Post match, Eve called the ringside photographer into the ring to take pictures of Eve posing over the fallen Fox.
Analysis: 1/2* Typical divas match. Eve didn't get much offense in until the counter move that led to the finish. I did like the post match heel act of bringing in the photographer to taunt her beaten opponent. That's just mean.
The WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman were shown backstage.
Plug time: I'm pleased to announce that I'm a part of a new online wrestling magazine called Hooked On Wrestling that you can view at hookedonwrestling.com. I wrote an exclusive column on it and I will be doing so every month. In the first issue there are interviews with Edge and Kurt Angle, a preview of WWE TLC and various columns. The price is only 99p (or $1.50 approx) and I believe it's an amazing value for the price. It's available now from hookedonwrestling.realviewdigital.com. It's browser based only this month. iTunes coming in January. Please check it out! Thanks.
The WWE Champion CM Punk, along with Paul Heyman, entered the arena. He stood at the top of the ramp. Punk had crutches while the cameras focused on his surgically repaired left knee. He was wearing a grey hoodie, black shorts, red shoes and a hat. I don't usually go that descriptive on somebody's attire, but the WWE Champion deserves it!
Punk said there are people that think his injury is fake and this was his way to duck his next WWE Title match with Ryback. He said this is what happened when you worked harder than anybody else. He mentioned 388 days for his title reign even though last week it was 379 (I looked at last week's Raw Deal), so I guess the surgery added two days in the week. He said injuries happen and that it's a tough sport. He repeated 388 days, with no signs of slowing down. They aired a video from last week to show how Punk was injured by Ryback.
Analysis: Of course that's just a storyline excuse. It was a nagging injury that needed surgery. Ryback didn't legitimately hurt him.
Heyman grabbed the microphone to say that the fans are ticking him off because they were chanting "feed me more." Heyman said that Punk was a legit champion unlike the New Jersey Devils. Hockey reference? Those are rare. He said Punk didn't have a stunt double like The Rock - oh there it is. Heyman said that Punk isn't complaining. He's standing out there like the champion that he is unlike The Rock, who is too busy to be there. Heyman said Ryback is no longer in front of CM Punk. Heyman said Punk will defend the title against The Rock because Punk is not going anywhere. He ended his part of the promo saying Punk was the reigning champion and also the best in the world.
Analysis: Plenty of Rock references in there. Let the hype continue. Can't wait for that match.
Punk spoke again saying he wants to talk about the people that think he should be stripped of the WWE Title because he's hurt. He named a bunch of wrestlers on the roster that got their chance at his title and none of them could beat him. He focused on Ryback failing on both attempts. He said that at the Royal Rumble he promises and guarantees us that The Rock will fail too. Punk said he would be at the TLC pay-per-view. Punk said he's going to watch The Shield - who he is not affiliated with - do to Ryback what Ryback did to him.
Analysis: Good promo from Punk like usual. They didn't say when he would be back in action, but the assumption is maybe the last week of the year or more than likely the first week in January. Punk and Heyman mentioned Rock multiple times, which is smart. They can talk trash about Rock until Rock is on Raw reportedly on January 7th.
Cole & Lawler talked about the new main event for TLC as The Shield vs. Ryback, Daniel Bryan & Kane. They said "main event" although that doesn't mean it's going on last. It's a TLC match that can end via pinfall or submission. It's basically a No Holds Barred match except they'll use tables, ladders & chairs because that's what the pay-per-view is called.
They recapped a bunch of earlier stuff. Sheamus vs. Ziggler after the break.
Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler made their separate entrances. Then we saw a clip from earlier when Sheamus shoved Ziggler off the ladder.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler had some white tape around his upper left leg. Sheamus immediately went after the injured leg of Ziggler. He continued to work on the leg of Ziggler. Sheamus got taken down with a Ziggler dropkick. Sheamus ended up tossing Ziggler over the top rope to the floor. That looked like a painful landing by Ziggler. Sheamus hit a clothesline on the floor as they went to the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Ziggler had Sheamus in a headlock. During the commercial, Ziggler knocked Sheamus outside the ring and then hit a running knee to the back of the head of Sheamus while he was on the floor. As Sheamus tried to fight back, Ziggler hit a running knee to the stomach. That sent Sheamus to the floor. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker in the ring. Sheamus bought himself some time by throwing Ziggler chest first into the turnbuckle. Sheamus made his fiery comeback with the forearm shots to the face and clothesline in the corner, but Ziggler moved out of the way of a shoulder attack. Ziggler hit an armbreaker to take control once again. Ziggler made a mistake when he came off the middle rope because Sheamus caught him with a backbreaker followed by a fallaway slam. Sheamus hit his ten forearm blows to the chest followed by a suplex into the ring. Sheamus went for the battering ram off the top rope, but Ziggler countered with a top rope X-Factor for two. That was a tremendous nearfall. Nice reference by Cole in mentioning Manny Pacquaio hitting the mat head first after his boxing match loss on Saturday. After Sheamus was unable to apply the Cloverleaf, Ziggler hit a dropkick to the knee and then Sheamus came back with the Irish Curse Backbreaker for two. Ziggler ducked out of the way of the Brogue Kick. Ziggler hit Sheamus in the ribs with a chair that was at ringside. Sheamus won the match via disqualification after 16 minutes.
Winner: Sheamus via DQ
Post match, Ziggler hit Sheamus in the back with a chair shot. Ziggler went for another attack, but Sheamus kicked it in Ziggler's face. Ziggler ran away after that. The replay showed that Sheamus just kicked the chair. The chair didn't connect with Ziggler's face, so that's why he ran away after it.
Analysis: *** If you give either of these guys that much time in a match they're going to put on an entertaining show. This was a lot of fun to watch even without a finish. I can understand not having a finish as a way to protect each guy and to give them momentum going into TLC on Sunday. This is a feud I'd love to see down the road for one of the major titles. Cole was right during the match when he said these two will be a part of the foundation for WWE for years to come. The best spot of the match was when Ziggler countered a top rope attack with a top rope X-Factor. His athleticism is amazing. The crowd was strongly behind Sheamus in his babyface comeback. His moves are definitely over with the fans.
The social media ambassadors on Raw are The Muppets, so Cole read some tweets. Thrilling.
They keep calling AJ Lee vs. Vickie Guerrero a main event match. Seriously. I wish I was joking.
In her office, Vickie Guerrero was stretching. Hornswoggle and Great Khali walked in. She said she was a little tight, so they helped her stretch. Vickie's foot was on the shoulder of Hornswoggle while Khali held her from behind in a position that looked sexual. There was a knock on the door as Vince McMahon walked in. Vince said: "I thought this was supposed to be a family show." Oh the comedy. Vince left. Vickie was all mad, so the two comedy characters left.
Analysis: It was like that famous Triple H/Trish Stratus backstage stretching routine that was fantastic over a decade ago. This skit made me wish I did drugs (I don't do drugs) because maybe then I could have understood why this was supposed to be funny. But since I'm not out of my mind all I can do is shake my head at how bad that was. I think the saddest part of all that was that McMahon paid somebody to write that. Maybe that's why he was upset.
The announcers introduced us to a clip from Smackdown that showed The Shield putting Kane through a table with the three man Powerbomb.
A video promo from The Shield aired. It was shown on Smackdown. It's about two minutes long. Here it is if you haven't seen it.
Analysis: I liked the tone of the promo. It had a different feel to it. In some ways it reminded me of the NWO, but it was original too. Not every promo in wrestling should be the same, so I'm glad they did something creative with that group.
Alberto Del Rio made his entrance or a match. They went to break there.
There was an ad for a Rolling Stones PPV concert on Saturday. If you're wondering why that's airing on Raw it's because WWE is producing it.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder
Ryder actually got some offense in early, but Ryder got a hard kick to the back to take control. Backbreaker by Del Rio got him a two count. Running kick to the arm by Del Rio. Ryder came back with a sunset flip for two. Del Rio hit a picture perfect bridging German Suplex for two of his own. Ryder broke a chinlock using a jawkbreaker. Ryder hit a back body drop that sent Del Rio over the top all the way to the floor. Back in the ring, Ryder hit a couple of clotheslines, double knees to the face and then he went for the Broski Boot only for Del Rio to counter with a drop toe hold. Ryder went face first into the middle rope and Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker for the submission win. If you're observant you could see Del Rio calling that drop toe hold spot since the camera was on his face. The match went about seven minutes.
Analysis: *1/2 How many times have we seen this match? Too often. At least this time it went longer than the usual three minutes and Ryder was made to look decent with all of the offense that he got. Perhaps they gave Ryder more time because the event took place near his time because his dad and friend "The Big O" were shown at ringside. No PPV match for Del Rio as of this writing. As for Ryder, he continues to smile more than any other loser in the world.
The announcers plugged the Slammy Awards next week. Vote on them using the WWE App. Or wait for my fourth annual WWE Johnny Awards next Wednesday December 19. They're like the Slammys except they're actually good.
Backstage, AJ Lee was shown skipping her way to the ring.
It's a "main event" match now at the top of hour two as AJ Lee skips her way to the ring. Of course she gets a bigger babyface reaction than any other babyface woman on the roster because unlike other babyface women on the roster she actually has a gimmick that involves more than just smiling all the time. That's called character development.
Vickie Guerrero made her entrance. She still has no music, which is probably a good thing. There was no referee out there. All of a sudden, Brad Maddox made his way down to the ring in a referee shirt. There was a "you can't wrestle" chant at Maddox. Or maybe the crowd is mad that they have to watch Vickie try to wrestle? You decide.
Vickie Guerrero vs. AJ Lee
Vickie attacked AJ from behind with a clothesline and then she threw her head into the mat multiple times. Vickie slapped AJ in the face. AJ came back with an awkward looking tackle because Vickie probably doesn't know how to take that bump properly. When Vickie tried to run away, AJ grabbed her and threw her back in the ring. AJ slapped Vickie. When she went for a cover, Maddox refused to count the pinfall. Super Vickie recovered, hit the dreaded rollup and Maddox counted the pinfall for the victory after about two minutes. These divas need to learn how to kick out of a rollup.
Winner: Vickie Guerrero
Post match, Guerrero ran up the ramp. Maddox followed her to raise her hand.
Analysis: -* Please stop putting Vickie in matches. Spoiler: This match is not a contender for a Johnny Award next week as the match of the year. I assume the storyline for this is that Maddox is sucking up to Guerrero as a way to get a job as a referee again since his attempts as a wrestler failed.
In the ring, AJ freaked out because she's crazy. That's what crazy people do. She threw chairs and ladders that were around ringside. She even slapped ring announcer Justin Roberts in the face. She walked to the backstage area as they went to break.
Analysis: At least she didn't choke Justin Roberts by the tie. I'm sure I'm not the only one to make that joke.
Backstage, AJ continued to freak out over her loss. She was throwing things around again. Her caring "friend" John Cena showed up to tell her she needs to relax. He hugged her. It calmed her down. He gave the "this chick is crazy" eye look towards the camera.
Analysis: I'm the same way after I lose at ping pong, which is rare. I just need a hug sometimes.
Kofi Kingston entered the ring. Antonio Cesaro cut a promo on his way to the ring and he said America has gone rotten. He said it's most obvious in New Jersey, which is why they need him as their United States Champion. He said on Sunday he'll beat R-Truth. Or something like that.
Analysis: A heel ripping on local fans? That's new. Not really. But Cesaro is awesome, so it's okay. Also how disappointed must Americans feel knowing that R-Truth is the one representing them? Poor country. The economy may never recover!
Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston
Both guys are champions. Neither title is on the line. Cesaro took control with a shoulder block. Kingston hit a back elbow. Cesaro grabbed Kingston by the head and draped him across the top rope. Cesaro hit a body slam followed by an elbow drop for two. Kingston made a comeback with chops, a dropkick and leaping forearm. The crowd was dead for all of this. Remember, this is a champion versus champion match. Kingston hit a monkey flip, but then Cesaro decked him with a boot to the face. They went to commercial there.
Back from break, Cesaro had Kingston grounded in the ring. Kingston ended up getting a pinfall attempt for two that a diva wouldn't have kicked out of. Cesaro came back with a power move to slow it down. Gutwrench suplex by Cesaro. It would be nice if the announcers had a name for that signature move. Saying "oooohhhh" when there's a big move is lame. Spinebuster by Cesaro got two. Kingston hit a splash to the back of Cesaro for a two count. Crowd barely reacted to it. Cesaro avoided the SOS and then he hit an uppercut to the back for two. Kingston hit the SOS for two because Cesaro got his hand on the bottom rope. Kingston hit Cesaro with boots to the face. He went for a top rope cross body block, but Cesaro caught him and gave him a backbreaker. That was an awesome spot! I was expecting the big uppercut as a counter. Neutralizer by Cesaro ended the match after 14 minutes.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Analysis: ** They got a lot of time, but the chemistry wasn't there like you'd think it would be. It was an okay match. Not great. Cesaro's definitely a star on the rise. I don't think Kingston is going to keep the IC Title past Sunday and even if he does you can tell the crowd isn't behind him that much anymore. They were dead for a lot of the things he did including his multiple comebacks. I'm actually surprised we got a clean finish and not some kind of run-in involving Barrett or Truth. As I said though, Cesaro's a star and he should be winning clean to continue to build him up as a guy moving up the ranks in WWE.
After the break is Miz TV with Rhodes Scholars as his guests.
The set of MizTV is now at the top of the ramp. Does that mean it has been downgraded? Feels that way. Miz was wearing a white suit jacket and white pants. Miz introduced Team Rhodes Scholars or as he calls them, "The Beardo and the Weirdo." That was almost funny.
Sandow and Rhodes made their way onto the stage. That mustache of Rhodes is ridiculously silly. Another "Cody's Mustache" chant. Sandow introduced us to Rhodes, who he called his best friend. He called him the new and improved Cody Rhodes as the camera focused in on Rhodes' face. Rhodes said that his team is a shining beacon of light. Then he insulted New Jersey while Miz thought about touching the mustache of Rhodes. Miz said he "mustache" Rhodes a question instead of saying "must ask." Brutal. Miz wondered if Rhodes grew that mustache or if Damien's beard rubbed off on it. Miz said he's heard of hugging it out, but kissing it out? That's team unity. I guess he's a babyface now since he's making a gay joke. Be a star, WWE.
Sandow said Miz has lost touch with reality. Miz went into his "really" routine while the crowd chanted along. Somehow they tried to focus on the tag team tables match on Sunday and Miz delivered his punchline by saying they're going to hit the ground harder than Manny Pacquiao in the sixth. The crowd reacted huge to that one. I guess a lot of people saw the fight. If you don't now, he lost in the sixth round of his fight and it was a devastating KO that saw Manny land face first on the mat.
Sandow said Miz wasn't a good host. He told him that his questions were repugnant. Miz asked Cody how it felt that Damien didn't visit him when he was hurt. He then asked Cody how it felt knowing that Damien said that Cody is the Marty Jannetty to his Shawn Michaels. Poor Jannetty. Damien denied saying that. Miz continued to drive a wedge between the team. Cody said he wouldn't believe the word of a man dressed like Colonel Damn Sanders. Cody was angry, so he walked off along with Sandow. Miz said he had a new name for them: "The Pink and the Stink."
Analysis: Babyface Miz still has a long way to go. His jokes aren't that funny. He laughs too much at his own jokes too. Much like his heel act was a Jericho knockoff, his face act is similar as well and he's just not as good at it. I've been writing all year that Miz should be babyface because his heel act was getting tiresome. However, he needs to be better at it. It will take time. I like that they're making fun of Rhodes' mustache because that's why he grew it. To get heat. I don't know how long he's going to keep the look, but I think it's hilarious looking. That means it's working. As for the segment, it felt like filler. There was no sign of Mysterio or Sin Cara on the show to try to promote the match. I figured they would come out for an attack or a confrontation of some sort. Instead it was just Miz making gay jokes. This segment fell flat with me.
Backstage, John Cena was walking down the hallway. AJ Lee walked up to him. She said she wanted to be there at ringside to support him. He didn't want her to be there because it's scary when Big Show is in a match. She agreed and decided to stay backstage.
This Sunday at TLC, there's a number one contender's Diva Battle Royal on the pre-show. Pictured in the graphic are Alicia Fox, Rosa, Layla, AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, Aksana, Tamina and Natalya. The "main event" performer Vickie Guerrero isn't in it. She only works main events. It's a "Santa's Helper" match, which means they have to wear Christmas gear. I'm not sure who I'll pick although AJ is the most likely choice. It should be Natalya, of course. I'll figure it out by the time I write the PPV preview on the weekend.
Dolph Ziggler made his way down to ringside. He joined the announcers to provide commentary for the main event. Cole plugged WWE Magazine's feature about how dominant John Cena is in main event matches on pay-per-view. It's nice of them to put over Cena for a change. That's sarcasm. John Cena made his entrance to the ring first and they mentioned he would be on Jimmy Fallon's show on Thursday night. Ziggler said Cena is given so many opportunities while he (Ziggler) deserves his time now. I agree. Big Show entered last.
John Cena vs. Big Show
Cole said if there's a rivalry of the year award in the Slammys (there isn't) then this would be a contender. It's not a contender if you're sane. Show attacked early with back splash in the corner while the crowd went into the "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chant. Cena applied a sleeper hold to ground the giant. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but he couldn't lift up Show. They went to break with both guys down in the ring. No floor to commercial spot for this match. Madness.
Back from break, Show went for a Chokeslam. Cena countered it by a DDT. Sidewalk slam by Show got two. Ziggler put over the heart that Cena was showing in this match. Cole specified that the Money in the Bank contract allowed you to cash in on the World Title. Not WWE Title. Cena hit a dropkick as part of his comeback, but Show countered with a spear for two. An Edge spear finished guys, yet a Big Show spear is weaker. The more you know. Show applied a bearhug because this match is straight out of 1988 where bearhugs were a part of every big match. Hulk Cena powered out of the hold, but Show was able to counter the STF by kicking Cena out of the ring. Outside the ring, Show whipped Cena into the security wall.
Back in the ring, Show connected with a Vader Bomb off the middle rope for two. Show gave Cena a headbutt to knock him down. He missed an attack off the middle rope as Cena made his superhero comeback. He hit the shoulderblock, the suplex without the spin and then the five knuckle shuffle. Show came back with a Chokeslam. Cena got his shoulder up. Show signaled for the KO Punch. Cena ducked it and he hit the Attitude Adjustment on Show. Even though we've seen it many times it's still impressive. The Shield ran into the ring causing the DQ finish because Seth Rollins attacked Cena. The match went about 14 minutes.
Winner: John Cena via DQ
Analysis: *1/2 The pace of the match felt slower than their normal matches, which is saying something. I can still remember falling asleep during their No Way Out cage match in June and that was when I was writing during the show as well. Once again it was a match where they didn't want to book a pinfall finish because they like protecting their top guys. The crowd got into it late with Cena's comeback. That Attitude Adjustment spot drew a huge response.
Rollins attacked Cena with punches to the head. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns also showed up as all three members of The Shield attacked Cena. The Shield brought a table into the ring. It was noticeable to me that the camera was shaking more and there were quick cuts to different cameras when The Shield was out there. I assume that is WWE's way of giving them a different feel. As that was happening, Kane & Daniel Bryan ran down to the ring. Cena got back to his feet and Ziggler went after Cena. Show decked Cena with a headbutt. The music of Sheamus started up. He took down Ziggler. He couldn't go after Show because of the no contact clause. Show went for a Chokeslam on Cena, but Cena drove Show through the table that was upright in the corner. It was a brawl all over the arena.
The crowd chanted "feed me more" and that led to the music of Ryback. Ryback made his way down to the ring. He threw a ladder at all three members of The Shield. Everybody started brawling as the show came to end with Michael Cole yelling "look out" repeatedly. The show ended with the brawl continuing.
Analysis: It was something a little different this week because The Shield attacked Cena out of nowhere. That could lead to people thinking that maybe The Shield is working for Dolph Ziggler or Vickie Guerrero, but I doubt that. I still think it's for Heyman/Punk or maybe even Brock Lesnar, who will likely be back in the new year. I'm not sure where it's headed. At least I'm intrigued by it, so that's a good sign about this angle.
Last Tuesday they announced The Shield vs. Ryback, Bryan and Kane. I figured they would spend the majority of this show featuring the guys in that match. I thought maybe there'd be a tag team match win for the champs or a Ryback sighting. Nope. They weren't even on in the first three hours.
I was a little surprised with how little Ryback was used on this week's show. They barely mentioned him for the entire three hours. Then he showed up at the end to brawl. I guess he was eating for the three hours before that. Of all the weeks to put him in a one on two or one on three match this was the best week to do that and they kept him backstage the entire show? Weird.
I'll likely pick The Shield to win on Sunday because it's the right thing to do from a booking standpoint. After seeing how this show ending angle was shot I am starting to have my doubts about it.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Dolph Ziggler
2. Antonio Cesaro
5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2012 Average: 5.89
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3 (July 9)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7.5, 7, 6, 4.5
I'm giving it a 5 out of 10 and I feel like I'm being generous. The in-ring work was okay, but there was nothing special about it.
They spent the majority of the show talking about their three "main event" matches. Two of them were disqualification finishes because they didn't want to put anybody over cleanly and the other one was a Vickie Guerrero match. If you're a viewer wouldn't you be disappointed by these "big" matches?
I think TLC will be a good PPV. I'm interested in the booking of the matches as I wrote last week, but I'm not sure if this week's edition of Raw helped people get excited about the matches more than they were heading into the show. It felt flat to me.
Here are the Slammy Award categories for next week: Superstar of the Year, Breakout Star of the Year, Trending Now Award, Comeback of the Year, Kiss of the Year, Tell Me I Just Didn't See that Award, LOL Moment of the Year and Match of the Year. That's nine categories. I'm not going to offer up predictions on how the fans might vote. You can tell by stupid categories like "kiss of the year" that they want to push the John/AJ "romance" story like usual.
Regarding the CM Punk promo, he did make an error. It was in fact day 386 on Monday when he said day 388. He's allowed to make mistakes. The booking team makes plenty of mistakes too.
That's all for this week. The TLC PPV preview will be posted on Saturday morning. I don't think I'll be able to post it on Friday due to a Christmas party and we like to wait until after Smackdown airs, so Saturday is the best time for it.
Next Wednesday December 19th I'll be posting the 4th annual WWE Johnny Awards. I have 25 major categories and ten minor ones. I'll cover a lot. It will be a fun read.
If you include this one I have six posts coming in the next nine days. Busy times.
Also plug time again. I'm pleased to announce that I'm a part of a new online wrestling magazine called Hooked On Wrestling that you can view at hookedonwrestling.com. I wrote an exclusive column on it and I will be doing so every month. In the first issue there are interviews with Edge and Kurt Angle, a preview of WWE TLC and various columns. The price is only 99p (or $1.50 approx) and I believe it's an amazing value for the price. It's available now from hookedonwrestling.realviewdigital.com. It's browser based only this month. iTunes coming in January. Please check it out! Thanks.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - [email protected]
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