-Don’t put too much stock into that tagline. Accidents happen, and I’m sure Miz felt bad about what happened with R-Truth last week, just as Zema Ion I’m sure feels awful about the incident with Jesse Sorensen last night. Those calling for Miz and Ion to be punished or fired, get over it. Edge ended Jose Estrada’s career, cut Chris Nowinski’s career short (diverting him into a field of science that makes Vince McMahon nervous), and Owen Hart nearly destroyed Austin 3:16 forever with that reverse piledriver. So if Edge and Owen get free passes, shouldn’t Miz and Ion get them too? Exactly. Let it go, and just hope that Sorensen recovers.
-WWE Monday Night RAW is live from San Diego, which of course in German means “a whale’s-“….what do you mean I can’t say it? Anchorman is a culturally relevant film!
-We relive the Kane-stalks-Eve-in-a-towel gimmick. If you spent all day watching porn, and then you turned on Raw at 9 to see Eve acting, then you’re nostalgic for good acting. Tonight, Cena embraces the hate, Kane promises an ambulance ride for someone, blah blah blah.
I have a feeling this is going to be death. So yes, Kingston, Jericho, Miz, Ziggler, Truth, and Punk (who gets a deafening ovation). But before Punk can answer a question, John Laurinaitis and David Otunga make their way out. Ace is happy to still have a job. The end. I like concise promos like that. Punk says 1) that the debate will not end in violence, 2) a congratulations to Johnny Ace for keeping his job, 3) Oh, and Punk will win because he’s the best in the world. Vickie interrupts Dolph’s rebuttal, but Dolph gets to explaining that HE is the best in the world. Being the better wrestler; what a novel concept. R-Truth is confused, thinking he’s up for an election, and promises to trade Vickie and Dolph to Smackdown for Hornswoggle and a box of spiders. Truth wants to delve further into the issue of spiders, and promises to drink the spiders. He said it, not me. Miz rambles on about winning last year’s WrestleMania main event, and trashes his opponents in riff fashion. Miz is cut off by some theoretical time buzzer, and Kofi talks about how he’s been overlooked, and how anyone can win. Then Jericho cuts his standard Post-Modern Heel Promo, bringing up his 2010 Elimination Chamber victory and his experience in the match. Punk ignores Jericho’s direct threats, and brings Dancing with the Stars into the equation. Ziggler calls the debate a joke (thank you!), and Truth makes a wonderfully awkward Flipper joke. Kingston and Jericho is tonight’s opener, but Jericho would rather deal with Punk, who mocks him with the title hoist. Jericho walks right into a Trouble in Paradise. Then the segment kind of just ends.
Segment Rating: 5/10. I don’t mind a segment to establish everyone’s role and motive, but 20 minutes of it seemed a bit excessive. At least R-Truth was funny.
Match 1: Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho is still dazed from the prior attack. Lawler: “Wouldn’t you like to see Ron Paul dropkick Newt Gingrich?” Yes, Jerry, yes I would. Kofi takes out Jericho with a suicide dive and continues to dominate the early going. Jericho turns the tide with a powerbomb out of Kofi’s corner attack. Kofi misses a comeback attempt with a failed dropkick, and Jericho hits a low dropkick for 2. Kofi gets a springboard cross body for 2 as Cole and Lawler continue to stir the Punk/Jericho pot. Kofi tries a missle dropkick and Jericho turns him into the Walls. Kofi hangs on and manages to get the ropes (drawing boos from the smarks, thus making Jericho mad), and Kofi lands Trouble in Paradise while Jericho is tied up with the ref. Kofi covers for 2, as Jericho makes the ropes. In the skirmish, Jericho goes to Kofi’s eyes and lands the Codebreaker to win.
WINNER: Chris Jericho via Codebreaker
Rating: 6/10. Decent match. Dear fans who are cheering Jericho at the arena: way to give Jericho the opposite of what he wanted. What did Y2J ever do to you?
-Shawn Michaels looks like he’s 59. I’m officially shattered. That means I’m aging too.
-Cena has a pow-wow with Zack Ryder, who’s going to try to get with Eve for Valentine’s Day. Yeah, Kane’s going to kill Zack. Even Cena points out how Kane has a habit of murdering Ryder every time he shows up. If you have faith in Ryder for a long term push, uhh, let it go.
-Otunga and Ace meet up, and Otunga points out that the board didn’t remove the “interim” tag from Ace’s job title. Otunga has a plan, however, to make Ace the boss permanently on Raw AND SmackDown. I have my fingers crossed.
Match 2: Randy Orton vs. Big Show
Daniel Bryan is here to be an annoyance, and Cole is sucking up to him all of a sudden. Because when you want the fans to hate a wrestler, no matter how much they originally love him, you have Cole give him the kiss of death. Show overpowers to start, but Orton wastes no time gaining the advantage. Show lifts Orton by palming his skull in a neat spot, but Orton avoids further onslaught as we go to commercial. Good, that gives me time to check out the dog show. We return to see Orton with a sleeper on Show, just as I was about to see who won “Best Bulldog” between Davey Boy’s Matilda and HHH’s Lucy. Show escapes the sleeper and he and Orton engage in what is actually a fast paced match, with Orton landing a nice dropkick for 2, with Orton being tossed outside. The two brawl to the table as the non-finish can be smelt a mile away. Show throws Orton in and gives Bryan some choice words, but Orton dropkicks him on the apron. And holy crap, Orton lands the rope hang DDT on Show with the top rope(!!) Then they botch an RKO, complete with “new tucked cup” chant. Then they repeat the spot with Orton hitting, and Bryan blasts Orton with the belt for the DQ. Then Cole turns on Bryan, because he’s schizo. Crowd chants “DAN-YULL BRY-IN” anyway. Yep.
WINNER: Randy Orton via DQ
Rating: 6/10. Ending botch aside, it was another decent match. That super DDT was a nice YouTube moment to be sure. Best part is the crowd ignoring WWE’s attempt to make Bryan as uncool a character as possible.
In Ring Segment: Shawn Michaels and Triple H
Shawn couldn’t be here tonight, so here’s Vigo the Carpathian. Wait…..THAT’S Shawn? That’s what drinking nonstop through the eighties and nineties will do to you, sadly. Of course, he could probably still carry anyone here to a ****1/2 match, so who am I to talk? Shawn says he’s nervous, but you can’t have WrestleMania season without Mr. WrestleMania. Shawn’s upset that HHH did not accept Undertaker’s challenge, so Shawn’s here to convince Hunter otherwise, so here comes Triple H to accept the challenge! Sure enough, here’s Hunter and we get some DX posturing for old times sake. But no, Hunter still isn’t accepting the match because he doesn’t want to have to kill Undertaker to end the streak. How modest. Shawn’s trying to say that Hunter is still the killer that he always has been, and doesn’t want to believe that Hunter has lost his balls. Nice oooh there from the crowd. Hunter says he has to be the corporate guy, and Shawn’s calling him a coward. Hunter goes to leave, and Shawn stops him to continue the Mickey-to-Rocky speech. Hunter finally snaps, and says he has responsibilities, and says the entire WWE is going to be his. The weight of WWE is on his shoulders. Undertaker is good for business, and if he kills Undertaker, then that’s bad for business. Errrr…..wow. Hunter also says he will not have Shawn live vicariously through him, just because he couldn’t beat Undertaker. Shawn isn’t buying Hunter’s words, and wants Hunter to look him in the eye and tell him he doesn’t want the streak. Hunter tries to leave without a word, but Shawn stops him again. Hunter removes his jacket, stares Shawn down…..and says “no.” Shawn leaves in silent frustration, while Hunter sees him out. Then Hunter goes to leave and….*GONG*Another video of Undertaker’s fixation plays, with Undertaker cutting his own hair for some reason. The theme is “give me what I want” and we fade to black.
Segment Rating: 9/10. Great intensity, but the theme of Hunter saying “I don’t want to destroy him” is just needless ego-jerking. Other than that quibble, the build’s been great so far. Shawn, despite my jokes about him, is always game for a big moment.
Match 3: Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth
Dolph outwrestles Truth from the get-go, but Truth uses the power of breakdancing to play defense. Truth eats the post, and Ziggler gets a rollup for 2. Dolph does his own Flair strut, but he probably manages his finances a little better. Ziggler works a headstand chinlock as I sense an accelerated match due to the long HHH/Shawn segment. Wow, just like old times! Slugfest develops and Dolph gets a neckbreaker for 2, followed by the show-off elbow. That’s followed by situps, and a swooning Vickie, but Truth rolls up Dolph mid-sit-up to win.
WINNER: R-Truth via cradle
RATING: 4/10. Short but spirited. The ending was creative, at least.
-Ryder and Santino have a meet and greet, and Marella gives love advice. The advice: eat garlic. The next time you feel bad about your paycheck, remember: some writer got paid to come up with that one.
Match 4: Tamina vs. Brie Bella
Tamina vs. Beth this Sunday at the PPV, because they need 2 minutes to kill between Chamber matches. Beth notes Tamina’s father’s dominance (which the Whitall Township coroner knows about). Tamina wins with the splash in 1:27. Yes, I timed it.
WINNER: Tamina via Superfly Splash
RATING: 1/10. WWE DID YOU KNOW: If Tamina wins on Sunday, she’ll be the first Divas champion to have an Adam’s apple since Harvey Wippleman.
-Rock promotes Journey 2. I use the opportunity to grab a Pepsi Throwback.
-John Cena is to offer a rebuttal, but screams from afar reveal Kane is trying to abduct Eve in the ambulance. Cena attacks, but Kane overpowers him and commandeers the ambulance, but Eve manages to escape. Oh, and she kisses Cena like a true nympho bitch. Ahh, but Ryder saw the whole thing. AWKWARD!
Thank GOD Eve escaped that ambulance! Had Kane wrecked it and she died, he would have banged her in a cheerleader costume!
Match 5: CM Punk vs. The Miz (non title)
Well, Miz is getting buried: no full entrance. Can Punk and Miz save this rapidly derailing show? “Poor Zack” is trending, mainly because THE FANS BELIEVE IN HIM AND DON’T LIKE SEEING HIM BURIED! Miz works the arm in the early going, hitting a Russian legsweep for 2. Punk powers out of an armbar, and avoids the back/neck snap combo with a high roundhouse. Punk sells the arm, but hammers away anyway, though Miz regains the upper hand with lefts. Then the tempo shifts back to Punk, who hits a neckbreaker, corner knee, and bulldog. Punk calls for nap time, but Miz escapes and hits a stump DDT for 2. Corner clothesline connects, but Miz misses off the top, allowing Punk to hit the Samoan Viper powerslam for 2. Punk gets crotched up top, but blocks Miz’s superplex. Mongolian chop knocks Miz off the buckles, and Punk hits the Savage Elbow. Another call for the GTS, but Miz counters with a Skull Crushing Finale attempt. Punk rolls out, hooks the Anaconda Vice, and draws the submission! Jericho looks on as Punk mocks the Jericho running celebration.
WINNER: CM Punk via Anaconda Vice
RATING: 6/10. Abbreviated match due to the backstage shenanigans, but a well performed match at least.
-Meanwhile, the ambulance is backing up! Oh NO! RUN, EVE! KANE HAS THE POM POMS!
Show Ender: Cena and the clusterfark of an angle
I won’t lie: Raw can be so generic and boring at times that I’m actually LOVING these horribly cheesy Cena/Kane/Ryder/Eve pieces. I have a sick sense of humor. Cena is sorry about what Zack saw. Cena makes Kane out to be some kind of genius Bond villain, by making him “embrace hate.” Crowd chants “WE ALL HATE YOU” at Cena, which is morbidly funny. Cena gives the whole “For six years, I’ve been comfortable in my own skin” speech, which leads to a VERY loud “FRUITY PEBBLES” speech. Cena tries to brush it off, guarantees victory Sunday, and has a message for Rock. But wait, Ryder makes his way out in the wheelchair, pulls himself up onto the crutches, and begins to make his way to the ring. Ryder snatches the mic from Cena, and smacks Cena across the face. Cena removes his chain, his shirt, and stares Ryder down. Ryder claims Cena was never his friend, and swings, but Cena blocks. Cena doesn’t swing back, and Ryder falls to the mat. Cena feels bad about that, and goes to help Zack, who leaves, not wanting Cena’s help. Ryder makes his way back up the ramp, and Kane appears on the screen. Idle threats are made for Sunday, and Kane suddenly appears on the stage, pushing Ryder in his wheelchair off. Gotta say, that was actually a nice stuntman bump. EMTs are immediately on hand, as is Eve, who the crowd boos. The replay of the falls makes it look like Ryder could have easily busted his ankles on that landing. Yeesh.
Segment Rating: 7/10. I won’t lie, the angle is cheesy, but the undertones (Cena fighting with the dark side, his friendship circle disintegrating, Ryder turning on Cena) actually has me interested in what happens Sunday. For a bad angle, it’s a very well done bad angle.
OVERALL: The wrestling was mostly good, the HHH/Shawn angle was intense, and the ending angle, while supplementing what has been a lame storyline, kept me glued to the set. Sometimes, that’s all you can really ask for.
See you after the PPV!
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.