Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hits and Misses: 1/30/12 Raw Review

Hello everyone, this is my first Raw Review following a Pay Per View so hopefully you will all be patient. Starting school back up has thrown me off my schedule, but I'm at the library and i'm ready to go. Let's jump straight into Raw!

Hit: John Laurinaitis, Man of the People

So tonight is the night. Triple H is scheduled to evaluate Big Johnny's performance, and as expected, Johnny is nervous. He is in full blown suck up mode, and it's great. His smiling and handshaking were the perfect way to show that he will do anything to remain in power. Good stuff here, though it was weird to see him stumble over so much of his speech after weeks of really nailing most of his lines. I was going to chalk it up to playing the nervous character, but I honestly don't think they were that clever.

Ever the professional, Laurinaitis announces the blockbuster Elimination Chamber match for the "Elimination PPV" in February. Did anyway else love to see that trending a little later on in the show? Anyway, the Chamber match is for the WWE Championship. I'm not sure if its the only time, but it is certainly one of the only times both Championship's will be defended in Elimination Chamber matches at the PPV. It's been a precedent for the Rumble winner's chosen champion to defend in the Chamber, and the other match to house six would-be challengers for the championship that doesn't have a main-event set at Wrestlemania. But I have to admit that while John was announcing the participants, I couldn't help but think of perhaps the greatest pronunciation of a wrestler's name in the history of Monday Night Raw. I give you, Umanga.

Now let me take a moment and give my thoughts on the six competitors in the upcoming Chamber Match:

  • CM Punk: Great test for the self-proclaimed "Best in the World." This will be Punk's fourth Elimination Chamber appearance. His first as champion.
  • Kofi Kingston: Riding a wave of Rumble momentum, lets hope Kofi shines in the Chamber. This will be Kofi's second chamber appearance, not counting the time Edge bashed his head in.
  • The Miz: He will play the coward in this match, but do not underestimate his ruthlessness. This will be the awesome one's first appearance in a chamber match.
  • Dolph Ziggler: The show off gets another chance, expect him to start things off and look strong. This will be the Zig Zag Man's first appearance in a chamber match. 
  • R-Truth: Truth steps in the chamber as a relevant threat for the first time in his career. This will surprisingly be Truth's third chamber appearance. The first for Little Jimmy.
  • Chris Jericho: Maybe the odds on favorite. The most experienced and maybe the hungriest.This will be Y2J's record breaking seventh chamber appearance, edging out the Game by one.
Miss: CM Punk confuses me

CM Punk may very well be the best wrestler in the world right now. The same can be said for his microphone skills. But I'm giving him a miss here for once again starting off Raw with a baseless and lame insult. How is John Laurinaitis poorly dressed? The man is wearing a suit and tie, literally the exact same thing every executive figure this side of Jack Tunney has worn. So what gives? Insults like this make me think Punk is just a..well a punk who is mad for no reason. This doesn't help anyone, so stop it.

But on a brighter side, I thought he did a wonderful rendition of "Na na na na, hey hey hey goodbye"

Hit: Best Wrestling Match in the World

An Internets Dream. Some would take that phrase as being a bad thing, but I see it as a very good thing (shut up DDP.) Daniel Bryan versus CM Punk on a big stage like Raw is an Internet Dream match, and it immediately made my interest in the nights show go way up. Also, condescending Daniel Bryan has become a 5-star character, so it was a no-brainer that he would strike gold in this segment. While CM Punk's "I Care" was funny, it was beat by a mile by Big Johnny. Repeating after Bryan things like "I do, I approve" and "First Time" was hilarious, and exactly the kind of little things I like to see done in wrestling segments.

This could go into the Miss above, but Punk's childish "What do you eat?" question was just lame. Maybe it's just me, but I loved Bryan telling him he would shove that Pipe Bomb of Punk's where the sun don't shine. I love when Daniel Bryan gets serious. It works even better because of the over-the-topness that he has been exuberating as of late. A few weeks ago on Smackdown when this character was just starting, Bryan was making fun of Big Show's short championship reign at TLC. Show put his hand on Bryan's shoulder, and he immediately went cold and told Show to "get your damn hand off my shoulder." As Lesile Knope would say, it was excellent.

I can't decide whether to give Sheamus a hit or a miss, so I'll just settle for saying I liked his declartion to Punk and Bryan, but didn't really care for his moments with Laurinaitis.

Hit: Ziggler versus Orton, still good.

When this match was announced on WWE.com, I wasn't exactly sure what to make of it. On one hand, I know for a fact that Ziggler and Orton work very well together. On the other, I only know that because they have wrestled quite a few times in the past few months. Luckily Ziggler and Orton went out and had a very good (and different) match. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Ziggler, especially how he sells. And if there was ever a wrestler he was made to sell for, it would have to be Randy Orton. The standard scoop slam looked crisp and the RKO was right on target. Add on the fact that the crowd was super hot for Orton, and you have the makings for a very easy hit.

I also enjoyed how Barrett was up in a sky box with Josh Matthews, and not down at ringside. This joy would lead to a facepalm though as Jerry Lawler accused Barrett of being afraid of Orton, asking why he wasn't down there with them. At this moment I turned to Charlie and said, "You do realize if Barrett was at ringside, Lawler would just complain about him being there?" But alas, there is nothing I can do.

Oh and one more thing, I love it when Wade Barrett talks. Especially when he says the word "Orton." It's awesome.

WTF of the Week: William Regal is a monster.

I'm not sure if this segment will be recurring, but I've got to introduce it for this week. So John Laurinaitis is backstage doing more of his sucking up schtick. He then runs in to William Regal and asks him about his son. To which Regal corrects him and says daughters. That is fine. It illustrates the point that Laurinaitis really doesn't care about his employees. So on to the next seg...WAIT WHAT?!?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot Regal proceeded to tell John that his daughters are conjoined twins, and he keeps them in the attic. Laurinaitis nods and agrees that fifth grade is a tough time. Seriously, I am not making this up. If you didn't watch Raw, I promise you this is exactly what happened. This isn't a hit or a miss, it simply left me saying...WTF?!?

Hit: Okay fine Brodus, you get a hit.

Earlier in the night, as Daniel Bryan was walking back up the ramp, I noticed a humongous disco ball hanging from the rafters. It was then that I knew Brodus Clay was getting a hit. Okay, not really. It was awesome, but for him to avoid his second straight miss in two nights, he would have to change things up a bit. Well he did. He started it off with going full blown electric slide in his entrance, and finished things off with the DACTYL before nailing Tyler Reks (who was his opponent by the way) with an elbow. I'm not sure about next week, but this week he did just enough to get a hit from me.

Update, my computer crashed as soon as I was done writing the rest of the review. I'm sorry but I can't finish so I'll just leave you guys with some bullet points. I promise a full review for next weeks Raw!

  • Hit: Vegan Means I'm Better Than You: D Bryan's character gets another great layer to it. Not to long before Michael Cole comes around even more than he did tonight
  • Hit: Punk/Bryan Classic: From the Code of Honor, to Punk switching his arm to the good one before delivering his bulldog, this match had all the great little things that I look for in a pro wrestling contest.
  • Hit: Well he said something...: The slow burn approach to Jericho's feud with Punk is great, and I think this will only lead to an even more awesome battle of the words in a few weeks. 
  • Hit: The Baddest Man on the Planet: I can't wait to hear his speech. Could he be inducted by Stone Cold?
  • Hit: Kofi's Roll: Beating Miz clean was the right move. Kofi looks great, and the Miz can rest easy because of his 45 minute performance from the night before. 
  • Hit: WWE on Youtube: More time for talent to be themselves= a good thing.
  • Miss: Eve, #1 Contender: Can some explain why Eve got a title match last night?
  • Hit: Embracing The Darker Side of Cena: I don't think he will be embracing the hate the way Kane wants him too, but Kane is about to find himself face to face with the John Cena men like JBL and Batista know all too well. 
  • Miss: Triple H as COO: Calling Laurinaitis "Johnny" was insulting, eh this is probably just hate leftover from his run earlier last year.
  • Hit: Triple H Evolved: Calling himself out for letting personal vendetta's get in his way was great.
Bullseye of the Week: Wow

Okay, I'll at least write in full here. I loved the Daniel Bryan/CM Punk match.With that being said, it was clear that the best moment of the night was also its last. Triple H's face when he heard the gong told the whole story. Sure, what he was doing with Laurinaitis was important. But he knows the hell that the Undertaker has brought with him, and in one mere second the Game's priorities were changed. Standing in front of him was the man who he threw everything at, but still won at Wrestlemania. This time last year, Triple H interrupted the Undertaker's return to challenge him to a match at Wrestlemania. This time around, it was the Undertaker interrupting the Game. And the most telling sign of all was Triple H walking away. It makes me think, all of that tough talk that the Game was spouting off about the Undertaker, did he ever really think the Deadman would be back? Or is he just not ready mentally to step into the ring with the Phenom? Obviously this match is going to happen, but I love the idea that Taker wants the rematch, and Triple H may not. If I were a betting man, I'd say there were some major goosebumps going on all throughout the WWE Universe last night!

Note: Sorry again about the computer crash, but thanks for reading. I'll make sure I write it somewhere were it can be saved automatically. Thanks guys!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Hits and Misses: 1/29/12 Royal Rumble Review

Hello wrestling fans and random others! I hope you guys enjoyed the last review and had a good time watching the Rumble last night. I for one am excited for Raw and will be posting a Review of that tomorrow. Today was my first day back of the semester, but I've just gotta get out my Rumble review for ya'll!!!

Hit: Dark Horses

It's funny, as I type this I'm listening to this years Wrestlemania theme song "Invincible" by Machine Gun Kelly. I've come to realize that as a wrestling fan, your taste in music tends to expand over the years. You may not like hard rock, but you sure as hell love listening to "The Game" by Motorhead. You might even despise rap, but there is just something about Three Six Mafia's "Somebodys Gonna Get It" that gets you pumped up. There are countless examples over the years of amazing theme songs chosen to represent each WWE Pay Per View. This choice for the Rumble,  "Dark Horses" by Switchfoot, is nothing short of perfect for the event. Combined with an amazing (as usual) opening video package, and you have a great and easy way to get the fans in the arena and at home pumped up for what they are about to see.

Hit: Big Show Is A Monster

Okay, this was one me and Charlie Speed had fun with. Did you guys see the little girl that Big Show tried to give his skull cap to? If you didn't, she ducked away when he tried to put it on her head and came up crying. Here's hoping Daniel Bryan throws that into a promo this week on either Raw or Smackdown.

Hit: Daniel Bryan, World Champion Celebrator

I know some people weren't too sure about putting the Triple Threat Steel Cage match on first, but I think it was the right choice in the circumstance. You couldn't really put the WWE title at the top of the show, and Kane versus John Cena isn't something that I advise using to warm the crowd up. So they went with this, which was fine.

Anyway Show, Henry, and Bryan had a pretty good and entertaining Steel Cage match that worked well around the Worlds Strongest Man's injury. I absolutely loved that Daniel Bryan won by escaping the cage. All night he was doing his best to get out of there. It's sort of like what is going on with John Laurinaitis, he is giving you reasons to boo him, but when you look at his actions on paper...they can all be justified.

Also two bonus hits go to Daniel Bryan dedicating the match to the girl he "appreciates" and the Big Show getting on the top of the Cage. When you have a 500 pound man sitting at the top of a 15 foot high steel cage, well its usually going to be awesome.

Hit: An Irish Elimination Chamber

Now before you starting thinking this review is just filled with Hits and no Misses, trust me...there will be plenty of those later on. But for now, how awesome was that promo with Sheamus for the Elimination Chamber? I really loved it, and not just because it was well produced. Ever since 2002, we've been treated to basically the same type of promo for any event housing the huge structure. Dark, dreary, dangerous. That's great, but it was refreshing to hear Irish Bag Pipes instead of your standard evil haunting music. Intercutting Sheamus talking with scenes of some of the most brutal moments of Chamber's past was great, and immediately made me excited for the event.

Hit: John Cena is Wrestling

I wrote a column on bleacher report three years ago how John Cena was professional wrestling. This was at the height of ridiculous Cena hate, especially after each great match Cena was putting on. Do I have my problems with the way John Cena is booked sometimes? Yes. But I have no idea how anyone can watch that powerful and frankly amazing video package and boo when it is over.

Hit:...and so is the Rock.

I came into the Rock video package, sort of expecting to like it less than Cena's. But as usual, I couldn't stop a smile creeping to my face. The Rock is so different yet so similar to John Cena, and its makes their match at Wrestlemania even more of a big deal. I usually roll my eyes at the label of "Biggest Match of All Time" and such, but I think the WWE might be right on this one. Cena v.s. The Rock is just that.

Miss: Hey everyone, here's a divas match!

Okay, here is a confession. I love the Bella twins. I mean, as my main man Booker T would say "Don't do it like that, baby!". So anytime they are on my television screen is a hit. But this match, this match is a miss. And not because it was a bad match, but because randomly throwing your entire (that's sad isn't it?) Diva's roster into an 8 women tag match. Why should the fans care about this? What feud is this predicated on? That four of the girls are bad and four are good? Seriously, somebody tell me. I know the WWE likes to add bonus matches, but I'm much more in favor of announced matches with actual feud buildup. Maybe instead of a minute long Divas match on Raw this week, you can have a diva cut a promo on Beth and how she wants her title. Bam, now you have a reason to see them wrestle. But if you must book bonus matches, make sure the fans that watch Raw and Smackdown have a reason to be interested.

Oh and if I ever am fortunate to book for a wrestling company, I'm going to be sure to follow this one rule. Make sure that there is no easy bathroom break for the fans. Everything on the show should have some sort of meaning. If it is there just to fill time, then come up with something that will change that notion.

Miss: Picking Your Number, and a Star Wars reference.

I agree with the recent rumblings that the WWE should bring back the backstage segments where the wrestlers would pick a ball from a tumbler with their number on it. It wasn't always a hit, but it did give us amazing moments like Eddie Guerrero stealing both Ric Flair's number and wallet, and of course Captain Charisma laying down some serious hot fire!

Okay, now onto Kane. Take the damn welder's mask off. It looks goofy, its just...just take the damn thing off. Though if you read last week's review, you'll remember Charlie referencing the mask as a Storm Troopers helmet. Last night he suggested it was appropriate because Kane is trying to take John Cena over to the dark side. YES. That was worth a high five!

Miss: Kane, Attempted Murder #17

This is going to get a miss every time from me. Unless he falls to the waste-side and ends up trying to suffocate the Cobra, its not something I want to see. Just stop it, everything else you did last night was worthy of a wrestling monster, but "that move" as the announcers like to call it is just a waste.

Miss: Jerry the King Lawler, Face Commentator. 

This first point is just a rant, but did you hear Lawler last night when Ryder was being wheeled out from backstage. He was asking why somebody doesn't help him when three crew guys walked by. Hey King, how about you help him? You're a WWE Hall a Famer who still can go from time to time, why in the world would the crew get involved?

Now I totally understand that I don't really have a point there. Of course Lawler isn't going to help, but god did you hear him the rest of the night? His face commentary has become really annoying, to the point where I don't think I can facepalm any harder. During David Otunga's entrance to the Rumble, Cole mentioned the great story about Otunga's return to the courtroom and victory as a lawyer for a client that was Pro Bono. I don't remember his exact words, but he clearly insinuated that the case never happened. So just because David Otunga is a heel, Lawler immediately balks at the idea that he could ever do anything good in his life?

Oh and then later in the Rumble, when Jindar Mahal entered, he did it again. Cole was explaining that the turban (sorry, I don't remember the proper name) was used to keep mens hair clean, Lawler replied with a "What?!", sounding like it was the strangest thing he has every heard.  Its his culture, what the hell is wrong with you. It's not like Cole says he wears it so that he can have sex with a chair. It was a reasonable comment. Tone it down Jerry, seriously.

Hit: Kane leaves the Rumble Relevant.

Honestly, I did not expect Kane to leave the Royal Rumble as a threat. I expected either a complete beating by Cena, or at least being one upped by Cena so that he was no longer the ruthless monster that they have been trying to bill him as. But last night, Kane got the last laugh. And it was the right decision.

Kane looked like a monster, and he actually looked quite good in the ring. Cena and Kane are two type of workers that together, I don't expect to enjoy all that much. But last night both men put in a solid performance and did a good job of telling their story. Also Cena takes a freaking awesome chokeslam. Nuff said.

Actually, no. It's not nuff said. Those complaints that Cena is always in the main event? Yea, where was he tonight? In the middle of the card, and he was left laying in the middle of the ring. These past few months have featured less "throat-shoving" if you will, so if you are going to complain about Cena, you might want to amend your argument a bit.

Hit: Please be proud of who you are.

We can have a long discussion about some of the hypocrisy of the B.A. Star campaign, but in my opinion its fine. It was great to see that video last night, and I hope a lot of young fans out there took that message seriously. Don't change who you are for someone, and be proud of who you are. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Miss: I told you this was coming.

Oh Brodus, how I wish I could give you a hit. Your green wrestling gear was fantastic, and I love the dancing. Also I can never get enough of Booker T going "THERE IT IS! THAT'S THE DACTYL!!!". But you should have been in the Rumble Match. I'm sorry, but I'm not budging on this one. I thought it was fine that Drew Mcyintre wasn't in the match, why would he be after the losses he has strung together on Smackdown. But I just think the WWE missed the mark on this one. Somebody call my momma, Brodus needs to do something.

Hit: Ziggler v.s. Punk, A Given.

One of my favorite moments of the night came when Dolph Ziggler's music hit. There was a sign that said "Dolph, Get a Life!" Wait, what? What about Ziggler and his character would imply he needs to get a life? LOL

This was the match of the night in my opinion, and I have a feeling I'll like it even more on a second viewing. A few notes before I get to the actual wrestling. I'm pretty sure the real reason Laurinaitis was on the outside was because he wanted to text. Oh and seriously guys, the World of Japan? Are you shitting me? You do realize the WWE is based in the United States, and with your logic, Daniel Bryan is the World Champion of the United States. I know you guys are popular all over the world, but christ.

Anyway, this match was great. I was a bit worried I would be a little bored because we have seen these two lock up quite a lot in the past few months. But they didn't disappoint. The counters were crisp, and it was just what a great WWE Championship match should be. So bravo gentlemen.

As for the finish, I have my theory. I know it's probably not on base, but I think Laurinaitis slid in the ring fully intending to stop the referee's count. But in that spilt second, he remembered that his job is on the line, so he made the three count. Either way, I'm interested to see what happens tonight on Raw with Big Johnny and Triple H.

Oh and one more thing, Clown Shoes is an excellent insult. Especially when said with such hatred. Thank you CM Punk.

Hit: The Miz at Number One

I said last week I was pleased with the decision to make Miz the number one entrant, and the announcers hyping him up was the right thing to do. He cut a very good promo which was again the right thing to do. I've been saying he has an amazing life story and honestly believe he will one day make a great face. But...

Miss: I'm the Miz, and I Spray Tan.

Holy hell. Did you see Miz's face last night?!? His body looked fine, but jeez his face looked like a badly painted oompa loompa. I could barely pay attention to his promo.

Miss: A-Ry.

In my notes for the Rumble, I wrote "A-Ry-Push?" when his music hit. Unfortunately, I quickly scratched that out. I'm not sure why Riley isn't being used, but I personally think its a mistake.

Hit that wasn't pretty, but it's still hit: Bang Bang!

I love Mick Foley. I was very glad to see the reaction he got. But dude, you should not have run down to the ring. I'm not exactly the skinniest dude, but I'm just saying. It was hard to watch. Still, it was awesome to see Foley mixing it up again, even if he was a little slower than normal. Oh and a bonus hit for Booker T saying "Bang Bang!" I'm confident Booker T is the greatest thing ever you guys, I really am.

Bullseye of the Week: My name...my name is Ricardo Rodriguez.

I did not expect this. But oh boy, was it ever awesome. At first I just thought one of Del Rio's taillights was out. But then I saw the duct tape. And it just got better from there. Seeing Ricardo Rodriguez come out to Del Rio's entrance was gold, and the exact type of comedy that I think most of us can agree is entertaining. But the best part was the reaction he got. The big "Ricardo" chant was fantastic, and I just loved everything about his time in the Rumble. When he eliminated Gabriel, his CM Punk style World Title celebration was perfect. Viva La Ricardo!!!

Hit: Cobra v.s. Socko

I'll let Charlie take this one. "I shouldn't like this, but I do." I feel ya brotha, I feel ya.

Hit: Announcers Rumble

I may get a bit of heat for this, but I really liked the announcers entering the Rumble. Yes it took up three spots, but it was worth it in my opinion. King being it in was fine, but when Booker's music hit..I lost it. While King just had a shirt on, Booker had a full blown suit on and had to take it off to reveal his wrestling gear. That was golden. Cole's moment was pretty funny too, but the best had to have come after King was eliminated. Booker telling him that he "almost had it" after a  mere 60 seconds in the Rumble is awesome.

Hit: Move over John Morrison

Last year, John Morrison wowed the entire wrestling world with his Spiderman like save from elimination in the Royal Rumble match. This year, Kofi Kingston did the same with an amazing handstand, walking backwards on his hands to save himself. It was awesome, and quite frankly, one of those moments that makes the Rumble so special. Here's to a push that will last and end at the Elimination Chamber (see John Morrison's push).

Oh and before I get off the topic of Kofi Kingston, last night was the return of Booker T's Jamaican accent. I have no words. I just love it.

Hit: Oh I didn't know!

I saw the article a few days ago about the three names confirmed for the Rumble match. I made a decision to not read it, and I'm glad I did. While Foley was already confirmed, and Duggan was a given since it was the 25th anniversary, I was very curious as to who the third man would be. And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. The Road Dogg is great. He is an average wrestler with loads of charisma who will always be an important part of wrestling history. To see him shimmy and shake was fantastic.

Hit: Cody Rhodes, Legend Killer

Last night, Cody Rhodes put in an awesome performance. Along with staying in the match for a very long time, he eliminated four legends from the match. Throwing Foley, Lawler, Duggan, and Booker over the ropes was great. But hopefully this leads to a match with Foley at Wrestlemania, and not a legends type program that it may also lead to. Rhodes needs that one big match to propel him into the main-event scene, and I truly believe a battle with Foley on the grandest stage of them all could be that match.

Here are a few quick hits and misses before I get to the end of the Rumble Match:

  • Hit: Khrama-if there was ever a diva to be in the Rumble, it's her.
  • Miss: Cole gets screwed- Booker and Lawler eliminated him, why? Because they don't like him? That's a little petty don't ya think?
  • Hit: Swagger No Swiping-Swagger entered on a roll, but refrained from striking Road Dogg after he put his hands up and said "hey hey hey!" Road Dogg is the best.
  • Hit: M-I-Z- The Miz did the Road Dogg legs that was barely picked up by the camera. Awesome.
  • Huge Miss: Replacing Wade Barrett's theme song is a mistake. They went through quite a few songs to find "End of Days" and I for one think its perfect. Buy hey, I'm sure this new one will grow on me. 
  • Hit: Booker T's Strategy- "Come in at #30, that's my strategy King"
Miss: The Big Show 

I admit, I was hoping for a cool surprise entrant at the number 30 spot. That being said, I would have been fine with a returning star like Christian or someone new and different. But having the Big Show there, it just didn't sit well with me. I know I'm just nit-picking, but I would have preferred someone else.

Hit: Sheamus v.s. Jericho-5 Stars

The final two mini-match between Sheamus and Chris Jericho was the second best I have ever seen. The only one I can say that beat it was the epic 2007 Rumble encounter between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. These two made you believe that they were fighting for THE most important prize of the night, and had me on the edge of my seat. I wanted Jericho to win, badly, so the stress was even higher. 

Now, Charlie wasn't too happy about the ending. For me, I'm okay with it. It makes sense. Chris Jericho came back and announced he was in the Rumble. For him to just win it, I don't know. I would have loved it, but it actually makes more sense that he didn't. He did everything right, but he just didn't factor in how much Sheamus wanted this win. Since Jericho  has been gone, Sheamus has went from solid heel to unstoppable face. So it was great to see Jericho beat on Sheamus and yell "Get out of my ring!" 

Look, I know there are reports that Jericho was scheduled to win and they changed it because it was leaked. As much as I hate when they do that, I'm fine with it this time. This is not your normal wrestler. This is Chris Jericho. Tonight, I have faith that Jericho will take it to the next level. Here is what Y2J tweeted just hours ago:

@IAmJericho: I've got something to say.... #raw

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to hear what he has to say. Let's hope it kick starts us on a wild rode to Wreslemania!!!

Note: Thanks for reading! Comments and such are greatly appreciated! 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hits and Misses: 1/23/12 Raw Review

Hello everyone, I was hoping to pick up where I sort of left off 3 years ago and begin writing reviews for Raw and Smackdown on the site Bleacher Report. I was very excited, until this morning I found out they have since changed there system. No longer can any fan submit an article, and to write for them you must fill out an application process. I filled it out, but am not sure if I will be making the cut. In case I don't, here I am writing my first Raw Review ever, and hopefully the select few that stumble upon this will enjoy! I watch with a very good friend of mine, Charlie Speed, so he will be mentioned now and then. Now onto the show!

Hit: Punk's Pipebomb 

We start off Monday Night Raw in fine fashion, with the camera panning across the crowd and knocking into an audience member wearing the Zack Ryder spiked hair wig. Luckily Charlie was able to rewind it to show the hilarity of the fan nursing his "injury". Check it out for a good laugh!

If that wasn't enough abuse for the night, CM Punk manages to slap himself in the face with the WWE title before sitting Punk style in the middle of the ring. This was a good promo from Punk, less of the "You're gay" insults that make me roll my eyes, and more of the passionate kid who dreamed of being a pro wrestler. John Laurinaitis is trying to take that away from him, and it was good to see them actually getting to the bottom of this feud that has been brewing for some time now.

So Punk calls out Big Johnny to say that he will screw Punk at the Rumble to his face. The moment Punk said "say it to my face", I was praying that Alex Riley would come out to his awesome theme music, do that weird pose thing he sometimes does with his right arm, and then simply go backstage. Instead of either Laurinaitis or Riley, we get the other Big Johnny.

Cena coming out to interrupt Punk was a gutsy move. These two have a lot of history, and the last time I checked, John Cena seemed to be the leader of the CM Punk fan club. So it was very nice to see Cena tell Punk to stop rambling and get down to buisness. The segment took a bit of a dip when Cena's sort of creepy love for Ryder showed up, but that gave way to an amazing CM Punk face during John's promo. Rewatch the segment and look for Punk hanging on the ropes. It's priceless.

Miss: The Swag Man Talketh

Look, I like Jack Swagger. I think he is an above average wrestler with a unique enough look to take him places. But he is this decade's Shelton Benjamin. He just can not talk. The fact that he has a lisp does not help. Okay, back when ECW was really ECW, they did all they could to focus on the strengths of their talents and hid their weaknesses. Taz was a very short man, but no one questioned him or his toughness because of the way he wrestled and carried himself. My point here is this, having a lisp stricken Swagger say that Cena is "Dead Meat" is only going to draw laughs. And you don't want that kind of reaction to your United States Champion...well hopefully you don't.

Hit: Dolph Ziggler sells his ass off

I have seen CM Punk deliver his patented knee in the corner with a follow up bulldog to quite a few wrestlers, and there isn't any of them that have sold it better than Dolph Ziggler. Some may not like his Show Off character, but there is no doubting his ability in the ring. He makes everything he does in the ring look important, and I for one and looking forward to Ziggler and Punk tearing down the house this Sunday.

Hit: The Match We All Want To See

The WWE Universe is not expecting the eventual John Laurinaitis/ CM Punk matchup to be a good wrestling match. What they are expecting is entertainment. The thought of Punk finally getting his hands on Laurinaitis is a sweet one to many, and others simply want to see Big Johnny back in the ring. So it was great to see the reaction for the proposed match between the too.

On a side note, CM Punk is a very violent man. This week he threatened to break both of Laurinaitis's arms. He also has told John that he will knock his teeth out and beat him like a bitch. Somebody get this guy some chill pills!

Small Hit: Jericho is Literally the Best in the World

While it seems like the over joyed and enthusiastic Chris Jericho may be coming to an end soon, any one that watches Park and Recreation should think about this. This version of Chris Jericho is Chris Traeger. He is so over the top that its perfect. You're welcome for the connection.

Bulls-eye of the Week: It's the End of the World as we Know It, and I Feel Fine.

Each week in my Raw review, I am going to give out a Bullseye of the week award for the best segment, moment, match, or whatever for the night. The inaugural award goes to the return of the highlight reel. Everything in this segment was perfect. From Jericho's sshh's to pandering with a t-shirt gun, to Michael Cole reverting back to the character that I enjoyed while yelling "Chris over here!" and "Look were on TV!". Also this might be the only segment in wrestling history where a t-shirt gun is introduced and no one is hit in the lower regions with it!

But it was what happened once he put down the gun that really mattered. The video package, detailing all of the greatest moments of his career was phenomenal. Each week the WWE reaffirms the belief held by Mr. Speed and myself. That they are by far the best at making any sort of video package. Jericho's brilliant delivery of his one line was chilling, and it was splendid to see them connect his return back to the videos that started it all. Whatever Chris Jericho has planned for this Sunday, I'm sure it will be big. It could actually be the end of the world as we know it as wrestling fans, and you know what? I feel fine.

Hit: Royal Rumble Video Package

After only slightly changing the annual Numbers promo for the Rumble, the WWE finally revealed a brand new promo that more than did its job to hype me up for the Royal Rumble. If you didn't get a chance to watch it last night, it's definitely worth checking out.

Hit and Miss: Zack Ryder v.s. Kane

This segment was just too much to break up into small hits and misses. It started off with Eve pleading with an injured Ryder to not accept the match. If I was Ryder, I would have chosen a nice cozy night with Eve than a beating from Kane. But that's just me.

Alright so here is the first miss, I'm done with the Storm Trooper Mask (Charlie's reference). It just doesn't really serve a purpose anymore. I was a fan when you walked down with a black towel on your head, but you just look silly with the second mask. Take it off and leave it off Kane.

Another miss you say? Well its pretty easy to write this one seeing as Kane tried to murder Ryder much like he did with Cena. It was amusing that Kane trying to stop Zack from breathing was no big deal to Cole and Lawler, even though it has been a segment ending move ever since it was introduced. The point is, stop trying to fake murder people. It takes the fans out of their suspension of disbelief and right into the "God this is terrible" stage. So just stop it.

The Hit here comes from the end of the match. Kane choke-slamming Ryder through the stage looked good, and was a logical next step forward in the feud between Kane and Cena. I would have loved to have seen Muhammad Hassan laying down there with Ryder. Something along the lines of he has been living there for the past six years and has made under the stage a pretty nice place for him to live. But one can only dream.

This is neither a hit nor a miss, but it was pretty hilariously to see how many straps they used to restrain Ryder onto that stretcher with. Although I'm disappointed we didn't have another "Does he have a pulse?" type statement from one of the EMTs.

So to sum this segment up, I think it did a fairly good job of setting up Cena/Kane this Sunday. Charlie's idea is that Cena will unleash hell on Kane, and absolutely destroy him. All of this will happen with Kane smiling at the beating. This Sunday, John Cena finally embraces the hate. I just have no idea how they will take us to Mania with this. I have faith though that it will all work it self out. And if not? Then we still have Kane fake murdering people to enjoy.

Hit: The Simple Things in Life

Look, having Sheamus come out and yell "FELLA!" as his taunt is brilliant. At least I'm pretty sure that's what he said. Either way, its fun. Plus Barrett coming out with the coat drapped over his shoulder was gold, and he was great on commentary. I also found myself wondering how Barrett would throw Orton down five flights of stairs. Would he try and find a set that is five in a row? Or would he be satisfied with throwing him down one set, walking down, throwing him down the second, and so on?

Oh by the way, I love how Sheamus says thousand. "I WILL WIN THE TWO TOWSON TWELVE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH!"

Miss: Taking advantage of the Royal Rumble Match

There are plenty of wrestlers in the WWE right now who are not doing anything. And that is simply the nature of the buisness. You cannot have each superstar involved in a storyline without creating a cramped tv schedule. But I believe the WWE has yet again dropped the ball on taking advantage of the Rumble Match. Yes, Jindar Mahal and Heath Slater got air time to promote the Rumble match. But why not everyone else? There is no reason why you can give Tyson Kidd thirty seconds on tv to tell everyone that he is going to win the Rumble match. It's simple and its effective. But oh wait...what's this?

Hit: Matches for Rumble Numbers

I think most wrestling fans would agree that qualifying matches for any type of big match are a plus. Whether it be the Money In the Bank, the Elimination Chamber,  or the Royal Rumble, matches to determine the participants is an easy and effective storyline technique. It's even better when they WWE has matches to decide who will get certain spots in the Royal Rumble match. Years ago they would hold contests to get the coveted number thirty spot. But having a match between two rivals with the threat of entering number one in the rumble on the line is great. The Miz should last quite some time in this year's Rumble, and the WWE would be making a mistake by giving him the chance to have anything less than a very strong showing.

Miss: Miz v.s. R-Truth...The Match

The Miz and R-Truth's feud has been pretty entertaining up to this point. But in the ring...eh they just didn't do it for me. I feel like my main problem is with the Miz. He is a great worker and capable of having some really fantastic matches. But there are some opponents that he just doesn't have chemistry with. R-Truth and John Cena would be two that I would point out. His matches with guys like Mysterio, Morrison, and even Randy Orton are fairly good, but I just can't get into his matches with the likes of Truth. Maybe it's just me, but if this feud is going to continue on into Wrestlemania, I hope they are both a part of the Money In the Bank Ladder Match.

Hit that is falling further away from the bullseye: The Funkasaurus 

I love Brodus Clay. I cannot stop myself from smiling everytime I see him come out to the ring. His character has been a blast. But it's time to stop the squash matches. I was disappointed this week that there were no "My bad" or "Sheeehplex!" calls from the Master of Planet Funk. It was still an enjoyable segment, but the WWE Universe knows he can beat all of the lower card. There is no need to keep this up. Here  hoping he has a surprising showing in the Rumble this Sunday!

Hit: Let's Go Home

First of all, did any one see David Otunga's shoes last night? His styling silver slippers were dynamite, and add the thermos to the mix and you've got a bulls-eye on your hands! But seriously, I have a question for you all. When did John Laurinaitis become good at his job? Charlie and I loved him when his mouth seemed to fail him and he botched saying "WWE Universe". I almost soiled myself when he picked up the phone and apologized for hanging up on someone so late....awkward pause....so fast. So it was to my surprise that Laurinaitis (for the most part) has been nailing his lines and selling his character extremely well as of late. It no longer seems that Punk is trying to carry Big Johnny through a watchable segment. Instead it feels like we are watching a true power struggle between the corporate man with a unfulfilled dream, and the champion that is everything the corporate shill wanted to be.

The job evaluation idea is great, as long as we don't get another trial of Eric Bischoff style segment. My call is that Triple H and the Undertaker will be seeing each other very soon, and it might all start again this coming Monday. And while I'm talking about great things, the spoiled little girl analogy Punk used to describe Laurinaitis was brilliant. It's simple, but it hits the nail on the head and did a great job emphasizes exactly what John was trying to do by being nice.

Laurinaitis pulling out of the match was expected, as well as naming Otunga his replacement. What I did not see coming was CM Punk finally getting his revenge on Johnny Ace by way of a GTS. It was a  great move and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted. But in an even better move, the number #1 contender for the WWE Championship came into the ring and ambushed Punk. Ending the show this way was the right call. It did its job to hype up not only the WWE Championship match for this Sunday, but also the future of the Punk/Laurinaitis feud.

We'll that's all folks. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Comments would be greatly appreciated, but just reading is fantastic. Thanks for listening to my ramblings!