-WWE RAW is live from Oklahoma City, where Jim Ross will most assuredly look stupid at some point. Maybe Kane will set him ablaze once more.
Opening Segment: Triple H
The watermark for HHH’s theme song (His original Motorhead theme) says it’s “exclusive to iTunes”. Isn’t WWF Volume 5 still in some FYE somewhere? So yeah, HHH says he was going to fire Johnny Ace last week, but because HHH was cut off, Ace gets to appeal to the board this week to keep his job. If I’m ever about to be fired, remind me to bring Undertaker in to distract my supervisor. HHH, of course, points out that he was the first man to ever cause Taker to need to be carried out last year at WrestleMania. Then HHH makes up for his assertion of crippling Undertaker by saying his arrival gives him chills. Well, that’s nice. Except this year. Well, damn. HHH then says he no longer gets that rush when he sees Undertaker. Oddly enough, that’s how I felt in 2002-03. He even plays a video package to show us “the Undertaker he remembers.” He’s talking about Taker like he’s dead. I’ll believe it when Rey Mysterio makes the “UT” armband and drives the hearse to the ring. Oh, and HHH turns down the WrestleMania 28 match, because Undertaker’s too much of a broken down cripple. Then HHH says “maybe Undertaker wants me to end the streak” by referencing Metallica’s “The Thing That Should Not Be”, and says “it’s over”. Then HHH’s song starts, then it….STOPS. DRAMATIC TENSION. Then the lights go out, and we get a video of Undertaker watching clips of last year’s match. Undertaker’s voice is so much raspier and higher now. Undertaker makes his case by promising HHH “immortality” if he wins, while giving Taker a chance to avenge the images of last year as we fade to break.
Segment Rating: 6/10. Hot crowd, but this is just going to drag until Hunter finally says yes. I’m sensing the same dueling promo build that we had last year.
Match 1: Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (World Heavyweight)
Well, I guess they’re letting Bryan get used to defending the World Title in the opener, since WrestleMania’s in just two months. Bryan brings the unbearably-cute AJ out, neckbrace and all, presumably to distract Show. Kudos to the fan who yelled “JAY LETHAL” as AJ walked by. Cole dressing down AJ for not seeing through Bryan’s façade is very Monsoon-esque. Show dominates the early going, but Bryan manages to dropkick Show’s knee to take him down, leading to commercial. We come back to Bryan working a half crab, but Show kicks him off. Just once, they should lie about what happened during break, and say Show busted out a 450 splash. Show gets a spear for 2. Bryan counters a chokeslam with a guillotine choke. Show escapes, but Bryan busts out some nerd fu for 2. Show manages to savate kick Bryan off the apron, and the champ claims a knee injury. Show goes on the prowl, but AJ begs him off. In the confusion, Bryan seemingly sacrifices AJ to a charging Show, but Show holds up. Bryan grabs AJ and scrams with her, taking the countout loss.
WINNER: Big Show via count out
Rating: 5/10. Average match, but I do enjoy the many ways in which Bryan tries to escape defeat.
Afterward, Bryan gives Show the verbal business, and claims that Show didn’t stop short the first time with AJ (not Frank Constanza’s move….), and claims he will win at Elimination Chamber. Gotta say, he’s taken to this sociopath role.
-We get a video of Carl Edwards visiting John Cena last week on Raw. Good to see Cena can take time away from worrying about Zack Ryder’s well-being to promote NASCAR.
-Then we get a WWE Elimination Chamber video. It really needs that “by the numbers” feel, so we can have “One. One time, WWE put Big Daddy V in the match as a practical joke.”
-We return from break with….MORE NONACTION. David Otunga’s in the ring, and he’s kissing up to Laurinaitis. Otunga tries to lead the crowd in prayer through Tebowing, but HHH (via Justin Yawnberts) makes a match: Otunga vs. Sheamus. But….but….Otunga’s not dressed to wrestle!
Match 2: Sheamus vs. David Otunga
Does anyone remember when Sheamus ran away from Otunga at Money in the Bank 2010? The sweater vest comes off, and the shirt is ripped open as Sheamus hammers away. Cole even invokes the “not dressed to wrestle” bit, making Bobby Heenan’s ears burn. Otunga gets a DDT for 1. C’mon, just have Sheamus squash him. Otunga dominates for a bit (why?), but takes time to toss the shirt, and Sheamus nails him with the Brogue Kick for the win.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick
Rating: 2/10. Not as squashy as it should have been, considering that Sheamus, you know, won the Rumble and all.
In Ring Segment: Chris Jericho
I hope I’m lucky enough to win the LED Lite Brite jacket if it’s ever auctioned off. Jericho’s more “SRS” than light-hearted this week. “The end of the world as you know has arrived.” Jericho has made every other performer in WWE “obsolete”, says he. The locker room, he claims, all want to be like him and steal his ideas. Then Jericho explains his silence, saying the fans cheered him because they’re sheep. He then runs down the Raw upper card, and explains how they each stole an idea of his, with CM Punk being the worst offender, having stolen “Best in the World” from Jericho. He’s here to reclaim what is his, but before he can say another word, we get Punk. Punk creepily stands there with his mouth agape and just drops the mic in front of Jericho, and then holds his title aloft. Then he turns his back, and Jericho makes like he’s going to hit him, but holds up, and Punk just walks off, having trolled the troll. Jericho is infuriated, and Punk just keeps walking.
Segment Rating: 7/10. Enjoyable segment, and I’m assuming we’re going to get it at WrestleMania. I just hope that Punk retains at the Chamber, and then beats Jericho at Mania, so Punk can have an extended reign.
Match 3: Wade Barrett/Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton/Great Khali
Cody Rhodes’ theme song is like Crash Test Dummies meets ABBA. According to Cole, Rhodes and Orton were teammates in Legacy “a number of years ago”. What’s the ECW brand considered, antiquity? The story is that Orton and Khali are uneasy partners, and Barrett lands a neckbreaker on Orton during the confusion for 2. Rhodes takes control on Orton, landing a nice standing dropkick for 2. Rhodes telegraphs his brother’s bulldog, and takes a back suplex. Barrett runs in and Orton lands the snap-slam. Then it’s the draping-DDT as Orton’s dominating. Khali tags himself in, and chops Cody as he attempts the Beautiful Disaster, scoring the pin. Afterward, Khali chokes Orton when confronted, and Orton lands the RKO to counter.
WINNERS: Randy Orton and Great Khali via brain chop.
Rating: 4/10. Weird match with no real flow. Then again, this show has had a weird feel in general. I don’t mind Cody getting pinned, because I doubt Khali’s going to win the IC title or anything
-Cole and Lawler ramble on about Rock/Cena’s Twitter war, as they segue into the Cena suck-up video. Justin runs to the fridge…..
Match 4: Kelly Kelly/Eve Torres/Alicia Fox/Tamina vs. Pin Up Strong/Bella Twins
Wow, a Royal Rumble rematch for free! WE LOVE WWE AND THEIR GIVING NATURE! At least Tamina dropped her “Sonic the Hedgehog” hairdo. Beth and Eve start, and Eve eats a hard clothesline for 2. Beth slams Eve and hard tags one of the Bellas (Brie, I guess), who bullies Eve around. Tag is made to Tamina, who plans Brie with a Samoan drop. Tamina lands the Sortafly Splash for the win.
WINNERS: The Face Divas via Sortafly Splash.
Rating: 3/10. Longest televised match for the divas since last summer, right?
-MORE ROCK CRAP. Now we get footage of him on Leno, airing tonight. Who actually watches Leno? What self-respecting person would put themselves through such manufactured, ass-kissing interviews? I don’t think I wanna know.
-Hey, Ace is here! And he informs HHH that the board seems to be in his favor. Ace tells the board that Shawn Michaels will be here next week, and tells HHH that he promised the board he’d be there. Also, it’s Cena vs. Kane, ambulance match at the PPV. Alright then.
-Apparently, Eve Torres suffered a legit broken nose in that last match, sites are reporting. If she needs plastic surgery to fix it, I doubt it’ll be her first time under the gas.
-Josh Mathews interviews Laurinaitis, who thinks he has a great chance at keeping his job. He also hints that the board may not like HHH backing down from Undertaker, that it implies cowardice.
Main Event: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. R-Truth vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (One fall, non title, winner is #6 in the Elimination Chamber)
Vickie Guerrero should always have hooker boots on. I think these six can kinda/sorta save the show. Everybody beats up Jericho for his earlier comments, and Punk rolls up Miz for 2. Jericho lays on the floor while the other five men brawl Lotta fast pins as Miz rolls Truth up for 2. Punk goes up and over on the corner knee and Truth misses a flip dive on Miz. That was SCARY. Kofi lands a dive, Ziggler fakes one, and Punk kicks him in the face while Miz checks on Truth as ‘in character’ as possible as we hit the break. When we return, Truth is helped away by officials as we see his head bounce off the floor on the replay. Sincerely hope he’s okay. Punk lands a Mike Bucci Memorial neckbreaker/DDT combo on Ziggler and Miz for 2, and gets a Vice on Miz before Dolph breaks it up. Then Punk gives Dolph a Vice, but Kofi saves. Punk dumps Kofi to the floor as Jericho slowly slides into the ring, reviving the crowd with their staredown. Miz and Dolph attack both men before we get the confrontation, however. Jericho and Miz clothesline each other, but get up in time to give Punk and Ziggler a tower of doom spot. Miz and Jericho try double pins but each only get 2, as Kofi’s kicked back to the floor. Jericho hacks up Miz, but Miz counters a charge and tries the Skull Crushing Finale, but Kofi nails HIM with the TIP. Jericho lands a missle dropkick on Kofi for 2. Kofi gets a springboard cross body for 2, and then uses the “controlled frenzy” to dominate. Jericho misses the Lionsault, but Kofi’s TIP is countered into the Walls. Punk manages to knee Jericho to save. Jericho is tossed, and Dolph cradles Punk for 2. GTS on Dolph, but Jericho pulls Punk out and throws him over the table. Then Jericho pins the unconscious Dolph to win. Jericho poses with Punk’s belt, in Punk’s sitdown style, to end the show.
WINNER: Chris Jericho via CM Punk’s GTS
Rating: 7/10. Good match, tempered only by R-Truth’s scary injury. Looking forward to seeing where Jericho/Punk goes next.
-Backstage, Kane stalks a horrified Eve Torres, and says he’s afraid of himself. Nice, uplifting ending right there.
OVERALL: What a downer from last week. Bizarre pacing, too much talking, R-Truth almost died, and the crowd, while hot to start, was dead by the end. Hopefully, there’s a better go-home show for the Chamber next week, because they wasted an opportunity to play a famously hot Midwest crowd tonight.
Just a disappointment is all.
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.