-Live from Anaheim, home of Walt Disney’s frozen head.
Opening Segment: Mick Foley
Of course Foley attends a show in a city known for amusement parks. We’re getting CM Punk/Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry/Dolph Ziggler tonight, as well as Zack Ryder vs. Jack Swagger for the US Title, assuming Ryder is healthy. Foley looks to have had some botox. Foley even mentions Disneyland for the cheap pop. Foley says he’s happy being a walk-on participant for nostalgia purposes. Hey, at least he admits the “This is Your Life, Cena” segment sucked. Foley brings up WrestleMania 2000 in this building, as if the target audience remembers that show. Foley says his two younger kids have no memories of their dad wrestling. I guess we can rule out them watching TNA. Oh, and Foley is in the 2012 Royal Rumble. Foley’s moment is disrupted by Vickie and Dolph Ziggler, and Ziggler questions Foley deserving a spot in the Rumble. He claims the hard-working roster deserves it more than some has-been, which is funny, because Foley’s the last guy you’d accuse of burying the younger talents. Ziggler says Foley may make a fool of himself, and Foley says maybe, maybe not. Mick claims to have higher goals, because he wants to win it. Ziggler says he worked all year long for his chance to be champion. He’s got a point. Ziggler says he’d be pissed if he won the title and had to defend it at WrestleMania against some broken down clod like Foley. Dolph tells him it’s over, and to go away. This brings out CM Punk, to a massive pop (massive pops in Anaheim = bike horn decibel). Punk plays the cheap pop game, and then accuses Ziggler of trying to fit a WWE mold that’s expected of superstars. Oh, and Vickie’s a poor excuse for a woman, says the champ. Punk says he and Foley have earned all their achievements, unlike Dolph. Punk then hits some harsh John Laurinaitis insults. Punk guarantees victory at Royal Rumble because “he’s the best wrestler in the world”. Punk also says he’d be honored to face Foley at WrestleMania. Laurinaitis makes his way out, and he vows impartiality at the Rumble. He also says Foley will not be in the Rumble. Vickie laughs at Foley as we fade out.
Segment Rating: 6/10. The younger, lazier audience just makes Foley seem like an anachronism when he should be reveling in the love of a diehard audience. Ziggler’s speech was money, though.
Match 1: Primo/Epico vs. Air Boom (WWE Tag Team Championship)
4:1 odds that Air Boom has dissension and it winds up with Evan getting endeavored. (Evandored?) Primo and Epico have some excellent music, it should be noted. Bourne gets the dead weight hurrachanrana, but the cousins Colon land a double fallaway slam. Bourne manages to rana Epico into Primo, and Kofi gets the tag. “Controlled frenzy” ensues and Kofi’s getting booed for some reason. Boom Drop connects, but Epico gets a roll up for 2. Kofi hits the TIP, but Evan gets knocked off on the Air Bourne attempt. Backstabber connects for the win.
WINNERS: Primo/Epico via Backstabber
RATING: 4/10. I’m gonna miss Evan.
-David Otunga gives Laurinaitis a mysterious envelope. Someone greets Laurinaitis, who is informed of a match change: Ziggler, Henry, and Otunga vs. Punk, Bryan, and….JERICHO! Jericho’s so thrilled, he turns off the lights and lets his jacket do the talking.
–Cheap plug: I take a look at why Brodus Clay has the potential to be very beneficial to WWE, and how he can open the door for many future characters. What’s not to love about the love child of Hugh Morrus and Flavor Flav? Check it out here. http://bit.ly/wV6CUi
-SIN CITY SMACKDOWN IS THIS FRIDAY! How can one company make Vegas into a PG concept? Don’t bet against WWE!
-Zack Ryder is apparently unable to wrestle tonight with the rib injuries, but Ryder (rather grittily) says he’s not vacating the belt. See, build him back up.
Is it me, or do titles matter tonight? I legit don’t want to see Ryder lose the belt. WWE’S MADE ME CARE! And we have Eve and Vickie as valets! I’ve woken up in 1998! GET ME A FURBY! Sadly, Eve looks about as enthused to be here as Jerry Sandusky at a grand jury hearing. Swagger gets a side suplex and the onslaught is focused on the ribcage. Ryder tries to mount a comeback but eats a backbreaker. Pump splash gets only 2. Gutwrench also gets 2. Jack gets the Swagger Bomb, but Ryder kicks out of even that! Cole and Lawler big-league the call when JR would have screamed over it. Swagger is frustrated, but lands another Swagger Bomb and wins the belt. Well then.
WINNER: Jack Swagger via Swagger Bomb (New United States Champion)
RATING: 3/10. Ryder could have used a monster comeback there to really get himself over, but hey: I’m just the guy who watches and reviews the show.
-Ace reveals that he let Ryder compete despite not being cleared, and Eve gives him an earful. Ace tells her off, which gets a nice “oooooh” from the crowd.
-Perez Hilton is here to ring announce. Shoot me. Perez Hilton deserves the Chris Benoit treatment. We should never bring him up, and hope there’s asphyxiation in his future
Match 3: Kelly Kelly/Alicia Fox vs. The Bella Twins
Stuff happens, Perez gets involved, and Kelly pins a Bella with a roll-up. Perez, Alicia, and Kelly celebrate in the ring. That ring could be overwhelmed with locusts and the plague right now and I’d shed no tears.
WINNERS: Kelly Kelly/Alicia Fox via roll-up
RATING: Negative 7/10. Now I sort of feel better. Michael Cole: “I can’t wait to read all about this on http://PerezHilton.com/!” I can’t wait until Michael Cole has an aneurysm.
Talk Segment: R-Truth
Highlight of the show so far: a cutie in the crowd in a Dibiase Posse shirt. Somebody give her my contact info? Before Truth can talk, Wade Barrett makes his way out. Barrett guarantees victory in 2012 Royal Rumble, and reveals that he and Truth are both entrants. Ok, good, now we just need 28 more. Truth makes British jokes and confers with Li’l Jimmy. Truth has a slideshow of his day at Disneyland, which includes his meeting various Disney characters. Truth’s face upon meeting Pinocchio is actually funny. Apparently, Pinocchio said Barrett would win the Rumble and, well, his nose grew. Truth: “I DUNNO IF DATS’S EVEN PG!!!” I laughed. Truth hits the punchline, but The Miz jumps him. Three man brawl is enhanced with Sheamus’ presence, and FINALLY we’re establishing the Rumble roster. Teddy Long comes out, and makes a four man over the top rope challenge with those four.
Segment Rating: 7/10, only because Truth makes me laugh.
Match 4: Over the Top Rope Challenge: The Miz, Sheamus, R-Truth, and Wade Barrett
Generic brawling begins, and Barrett is dumped by the majority before long, just to demonstrate the “no allies” concept. Truth dazzles with some break dance defense and a high kick, but Miz takes him down quickly enough. Truth is tossed, but he hangs on. Sheamus gets Miz with a series of sledges, and follows with the Dublin Drubbing (the chest whacks, which is what I’m calling it until it has an official name). Sheamus is crotched on the Brogue Kick, but recovers soon enough to try and dump Miz, but Truth tosses them both to win. Sheamus gives Miz the Brogue Kick outside the ring just to wreck Miz’s “I’m a scary bad ass” schtick that began two months ago.
RATING: 5/10. Short and harmless.
-Cena bitches at Ace for letting Ryder get hurt. Ace makes Cena and Kane for the Rumble. Cena faces Swagger next, non-title.
Match 5: Jack Swagger vs. John Cena (non title)
Part of me is hoping this was for the belt, so Cena can win and bring the original spinner back. Cena, of course, beats the crap out of Swagger before the bell. Swagger gets sent up and over the top and battered outside the ring. Cena proceeds to beat Swagger down with a ton of closed fists with a crazed look in his eye. Swags eats the ringsteps and Cena continues to emote rage. Swagger lays dead on the lower half of the steps, but Cena isn’t done. Cena goes to crown him with the upper hand, but the pyro explodes and Kane appears on the tron. Ahh, and Kane is happy that Cena is demonstrating “hate”.
WINNER: No match
RATING: 6/10. It was nice seeing Psycho Cena for a change, as opposed to Happy Fun Cena.
Match 6: Brodus Clay vs. JTG
Noticeable pop for the introduction of Brodus’ name. If WWE can avoid screwing this up, he’s going to be money. He plays the character with his heart, and the audience knows it. Clay dominates, and even tricks JTG into looking the other way before feeding him a punch. Fall of Humanity finishes, and Clay dances some more. Dibiase Posse fan is getting down! Contact info, give it out!
WINNER: Brodus Clay via Fall of Humanity
RATING: 4/10. My favorite kind of squashes: the energetic ones. By the way, can we get Naomi Knight (one of the dancers) in booty shorts? Just a suggestion.
-So Bryan makes his way out for the main event, and it’s JERICHO JACKET TIME~!! Jericho still has the the 2008-2010 shorts as part of his look. The usual overpandering ensues.
Main Event: CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler/Mark Henry/David Otunga
Jericho still panders while all the heels made their entrances during the break, and Jericho’s song is still playing. That is too funny. Punk and Ziggler begin, which is a good choice. Mat sequence begins things and Punk takes control, while Jericho claps out of place. Bryan tags in and takes over, but Dolph gets the upper hand and works the knee. Take is made to Otunga, who works the knee as well. Dolph tags back in and works a half crab as Y2J chants kick up. Bryan makes the ropes and Ziggler misses an ensuing corner splash. Tags are made to Punk and Otunga, and Punk kicks away at Ace’s toadie. Ziggler tags back in to stomp Punk, as the crowd grows restless for Jericho. I’m anticipating how he’ll screw them yet again. Dolph works a side headlock, but Punk creatively counters with a backbreaker. Otunga tags back in as Jericho dances around, rallying the crowd. Oh man, however he screws the audience, it’s going to be glorious! Punk lands a Savage Elbow on Otunga as Punk crawls to his corner. Jericho tags! And Jericho dances! And dances! And dances! And tags Bryan! And leaves! And we go to commercial! We return with Ziggler wrenching Bryan with a modified camel clutch. Ziggler can’t keep the control, and Bryan tags Punk, who goes crazy on Dolph. Knee/bulldog combo fells Dolph, as does the springboard clothesline for 2. Henry and Bryan collide and Bryan angers him with a right hand. The two end up brawling in the aisle, and the champ takes a header up the ramp. The two brawl away, and Foley jogs slowly to the ring to fill in for Jericho. Punk misses an enzuigiri, and Dolph gets a fame asser for 2. Ziggler remains unable to put Punk away, despite many attempts. Foley and Otunga get the tags and Mick goes to town on Carlton. Corner knee connects. Double arm DDT connects and hereeeeeeee’s Socko! And Otunga is done for. Ahh, but Ace comes out and says since Foley was not a legal entrant, he’s reversing the decision.
WINNERS: Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, and David Otunga by DQ
RATING: 7/10. Just plain fun from start to finish.
Punk gets sour, and starts accosting Ace, saying his authority means nothing. Things get heated, and Punk tells Ace off. As a wrestler, Ace sucked, says Punk. Punk invokes LOD, saying Ace could never be Animal. Punk says Ace couldn’t cut it in the ring, so he takes it out on the talent he’s jealous of, especially Punk. Punk’s brought this crowd to life with this rabble-rousing speech. Punk promises that if Ace screws him at the Rumble, he will kick his ass. Punk even makes Ace flinch with a threat to strike as the crowd chants “CM PUNK” in unison as the champ leaves. Foley sarcastically taunts Ace, who is now stewing. Ace says he will not be intimidated, and Foley poses the hard question: admit that he’s going to screw Punk. Then Foley calls him a kiss-ass. Ace then says it: he WILL screw Punk at the Rumble. Ace finally snaps. He says he’s not appreciated for putting on Raw every week, and he’s not going to take it anymore. And with that, Ace nails Foley with the mic before leaving.
Segment Rating: 10/10. Not only did Punk cut his best promo since August, or maybe the night after TLC, but Ace NAILED his part, and I actually wanna see a match between the two now.
OVERALL: Many blasé parts, especially with Perez Hilton, but man did the Punk and Ace stuff make this show worthwhile. Call it a thumbs up on their Herculean effort.
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.