Monday Night Raw: 12/19/2011 Review: TLC Fallout
After having a day to digest TLC I think everything moved in a positive direction and the opening of Raw helped me to fully understand the big picture. Usually I’m incredibly pessimistic and negative about all things WWE lately but they’re evolving to something different (hopefully) and giving the loudest majority the internet what they wanted (sorta)
Raw starts with CM Punk announcing the winner of the main event at TLC (him) and making his way out to a huge ovation. For me last night was Punk finally settling in as the number 1 guy in the WWE. His popularity has eclipsed Cena and he’s putting on better matches and telling better stories and he’s over. I’ve stated that I didn’t like how they handed Punk post Money in the Bank but I think maybe it just took some time to establish everything with a few missteps along the way. Tonight when he walked down to the ring it felt normal, it felt deserved to see him with the title over his shoulder and it’s new, something people have been begging for for about the last 3 years. So Punk gets in the ring and announcers the winner of the US title, Zack Ryder and he makes his way out to the ring. Now we as human sometimes when we get what we want we don’t want it anymore, and that’s the backlash I hear about Zack Ryder. People are confused on why he’s so popular and the answer is simple. It’s different and it’s new. Putting the US strap over the shoulder of a guy with building popularity seems like it hasn’t been done in forever. Recently, esspecially for the babyfaces; the US title was used to push guys they want to get over. It was that fear that had me think maybe it would go to guys like Alex Riley or Mason Ryan, people the WWE thought should be over but aren’t. Zack is over and he deserves the title, he’s a veteran and has a new found fame and it’s a good fit. Then Punk announces the winner of the World Heavyweight Title match and although he didn’t win the match, he took home the belt and that would be Daniel Bryan. These three guys standing in the ring holding gold shows that maybe the WWE has submitted to the Internet Wrestling Community and it is in our hands now to shut the hell up and enjoy it. Or maybe they feel this is the next evolution of the WWE, who knows. Another positive is the glaring praise that CM Punk gives Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder in this segment which did more to establish these guys than any of the writers have over the past few months. I’ve even stated how sad it is that Ryder had to go do all of this himself and now we just have to hope the writers don’t screw it all up.
All that said, I’m on board with all of this because not since Stone Cold Steve Austin has there been a babyface(s) that you want to see succeed and you enjoy rooting for. I pontificated Sunday night that maybe you turn Daniel Bryan heel, but I changed my mind, handled correctly, this could work, all of this could work.
Ziggler, The Miz and Del Rio make their way out and this sets up a 6-man tag for the main event, and I’m cool with that, and you should be too. This segment beat the shit the usual awkward Cena promo they use to open Raw and I welcome it with open arms.
Wade Barrett vs Randy Orton: Ok so back to wrestling and this is a rematch from last night. Ah the old thumb to the eye DQ for Barrett, the darker portion of the Barrett Barrage. Barrett continues the assault and hits his sideslam which Cole says is called “The Winds of Change” I’m wondering
if Wasteland is also a Scorpions tune? Well Barrett continues on and puts Orton through a table with a move he calls “Rock you like a
Hurricane” and then utters something in German. Does this continue the feud between these guys, the winds of change will tell.
Alicia Fox vs Beth: Alicia comes out wearing her ceremonial head dress of suck and offensiveness. If that thing came alive and bites her throat I’m curious if she’d sell it? I find it interesting in a non interesting way that they don’t even say weather it’s a non title match but that gets answered right away because Alicia Fox wins after botching her one move. Who ever is writing the Divas stuff, just fucking stop please.
Sheamus vs Jinder Muhal Ok people loved Triple H because he was a total badass wrestling machine, well why not do the same for Sheamus, not just intruct him to smile at every given opportunity and someone to fight that you think he might lose to, or something to do. Anyhow, Jinder Muhal got a turbin to cover up his american douchbag haircut and further prove that he’s not from here as I eagerly await the USA chant to break out at any awkward moment. Match was ok, best part was Cole admiring Jinder’s robe, remarking how elegant it looks. It’s a fucking robe, it looked the same last week when he got jobbed out.
So before I break down the weekly John Cena “people hate me and that’s why the WWE is great segment” the WWE has begun selling “Cena Sucks” shirts. Now to me this is like the morons that walk around the north end of Boston with shirts that say Canadians Suck with the Canadians Logo on it. Now I’m a huge bruins fans and I hate the habs, but I’m not going to pay for a piece of clothing with the logo of the team I don’t like. I show my hatred for the candians by buying Bruins gear, pretty simple. So I”m guessing WWE fans that hate Cena will get out that aggresion by buying I don’t know a shirt of a guy they like instead of a Shirt with Cena’s name on it, reguardless that it says he sucks on it or not.
So Cena asks if Kane choke slamming him was an accident, as if maybe he went temporarily blind and choke slammed the first person he saw. So Mark Henry limps out instead of Kane. A very loud Sexual Chocolate chant breaks out and it feels like when people get made fun of in their 30’s about something that happened in high school. Henry and Cena face off when Kane interupts with the fire and the walking. So Kane and Cena square off in the ring and I guess it wasn’t an accident. It spills outside of the ring and Kane gives Cena the face hugger and knocks him out long enough to rip his shirt off and take it for his collection. Kane stomps off and Cena looks terrified, in a funny way.
Primaco vs The Usos. Well well well WWE, you’ve decided tag-team wrestling exsists once again, well fine, I’ll play along. Believe it or else…this match was good, it was very good. The crowd was dead but it’ll take some work to get people to care about all 4 of these wrestlers or tag team wrestling in general but it’s a work in progress.
Santino vs Cody Rhodes: First these two actually had a funny backstage segment, mainly because he keeps calling him Coby Rhodes. The Match wasn’t as funny but Cody is entertaining in the ring, so it wasn’t a total waste.
Main Event: CM Punk/Zack Ryder/Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler/The Miz/Alberto Del Rio. The heel team of Ziggler, The Miz and Del Rio come out individually from the entrance way and set up shop in the ring to pound on each guy when they come out, presumably.
So first they announce Ryder and he makes his way through the crowd, as does Bryan and Punk and it’s really representative of what these guys are all about. They really are one of the people more so than a guy like Cena can claim to be. These guys were just hardcore fans that followed their dream to become wrestlers. It sounds corny as hell but if you know any back story about any of these guys then you know they love wrestling. Not love WWE like Cena loves to sing about but Wrestling in the general term. I like Cena, he’s really dedicated to the business, etc but a guy like Punk is just a dude who likes wrestling. This wasn’t a last ditch effort, he’s not a genetic freak who tried his hand at football, weight lifting, acting and settled on the WWE. Same as Bryan, and Ryder to a lesser degree, these guys are just wrestlers. It was a small but cool moment for these guys and the crowd seemed to dig what was going on. This match wasn’t set up to push any story lines forward into Rumble; it was more like a House Show main event to showcase the best guys. I believe it was also away to show the fans (mostly the IWC), that this is what you wanted, this is what your gonna get…finally
Really if you add Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton to this main event as an 8-man tag you coulda just made it the entire show as far as I”m concerned. I hope what the WWE is realizing what people want is new, different and quality. These 6 guys are all of these things in a relative sense. The wrestling fan over the age of 12 (myself included) can be extremely whinny and unpleasant at times and for good reason, and sometimes because our expectations for this product are a little too high. After TLC and into tonights Raw were getting our cake and I enjoyed the hell out of mine. People were sick of Cena, they wanted more CM Punk, people wanted Zack Ryder to be relevant, people (not as many, but people) wanted Daniel Bryan to be a champion and featured more prominently and we got it. I’ve already read people online bitching about this calling it “an internet jerk-off session” and you can guarantee these are the same people that bitch about Triple H winning every pay-per-view and Cena dominating every Raw main event and these are the people you can never please. I can honestly say if I was a life long wrestling fan who grew up in a ditch and never had internet access this still would have been ascetically pleasing to my senses.
Since returning to wrestling in 2009 this is the first time I can remember being excited for the babyfaces, maybe cause I wasn’t waiting for a shoe to drop or judging the action, I just legitimately enjoyed myself. The action was fast paced and done well, all 6 guys are great (Ryder and Miz being the least of the 6 but still held their own) wrestlers and story tellers and this match was just so much fun from beggining to end. Sure maybe
I marked out a little here, but isn’t that why we watch in the first place. Sometimes you gotta stop being the coolest, smartest guy in
the room and just enjoy yourself.
The match was nice, neat, simple and clean. I have nothing witty or sarcastic to add to this ending, each guy celebrated with their
respective belt standing atop the barricade to a loud ovation and Raw faded to black. For the first time in a long time since CM Punk’s pipebomb I didn’t roll my eyes and head to the computer to cut up another episode of Monday Night Raw, well done sirs. As a whole this episode of Raw wasn’t perfect, it had some usual WWE buffoonary we have come to expect, but it was book-ended excellently. A giant step in the right direction.