Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1/14/13 RAW (20th Anniversary RAW)

The opening montage is all the different RAW openings from the past 20 years. Nice nostalgia moment.

Three-man announce team tonight: Cole, Lawler, JBL. Twitter hashtag was #RAW20, and many past and current WWE talent tweeted their favorite RAW moments throughout the show.

Vince McMahon in the ring to start the show. Nice pop from the crowd. Yes, we've seen entertainment throughout the years. Over 4 billion viewers in the U.S. have enjoyed RAW in 20 years. Gotta stroke the ego. Vince says the following are up tonight: Ziggler and Cena in a cage, plus Rock concert. Big Show comes out. Show wants to address the World Title situation and Vince basically doesn't want to hear it. We see the finish to the LMS match on Smackdown. Show reminds us of his ironclad contract and wants Vince to strip Del Rio of the title. ADR's music plays. Ricardo comes out and does his vintage ADR intro. Del Rio comes out in his wrestling gear. Attire has the Mexican colors, so I guess he's gone full babyface now. ADR calls Show the World's Largest Crybaby. ADR offers to give Show a rematch for the title tonight. "SI SI SI!" chants. Show refuses. ADR tells Show to grow a set. Show says he wants his rematch at the Royal Rumble. Predictable, right? ADR with more Spanish, calling Show a "fat jackass." ADR and Ricardo have a present for Big Show -- inside a bucket with the Mexican colors. Ricardo tosses Mexican-colored confetti on Show. Show's pissed. ADR and Ricardo work together to get Show retreating.

First RAW flashback: Bob Barker is the guest host. Many crappy guest hosts during this time, but most agree Barker was one of the best. Classic moment with Jericho.

Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton: Aggressive from the start. Orton back suplexes Barrett on the barricade, uncommon move there. Barrett took control during the commercial break, countering an Orton hangman's DDT. RKO countered, and Barrett tosses Orton into the ringpost. Barrett rolls up the elbow pad. If you see red, it's Bullhammer time. Finisher hits, and Barrett wins. Good clean win for the IC champ. Not often that Orton loses clean. I've read that this will lead to Orton's personal time off and eventual heel turn when he comes back. **

Fun RAW fact: When RAW's first episode aired on 1/11/93, Kofi Kingston was 11 years old, Cody Rhodes was 7, and AJ Lee was 5. And I was 9. Yay. In other words, I couldn't care less.

Booker tells Eve that if she even thinks about getting counted out or DQ'd in her Divas Title match against Kaitlyn tonight, Eve will be stripped of the title and it will belong to Kaitlyn. For those that don't know, Eve really is leaving the company. It's a shame, because Eve was one of the very few bright spots of the damn division. Then again, a lot of people probably hated it when Beth Phoenix left a few months ago. Divas division has been clinically dead for a long time. It's just supposedly alive because there's a title floating around and there are women who get pitiful segments just to satisfy the generally accepted rule of "at least one divas segment per show."

Team Hell No has their Anger Management followup evaluation. Plan is to lie. Group hug with Dr. Shelby! Asking DB what the best part is about Kane? Tall, can set things on fire, and a good dancer. Asking Kane what the best traits are in DB: agile in the ring, great beard...and sometimes he wears women's clothing. LOL. Surprise, Team Rhodes Scholars! Shelby says exposure therapy, but Sandow says it's system desensitization (Pavlov stuff). Rhodes Scholars antagonizes Dr. Shelby instead by mentioning "Dr. Phil." Vintage angry Dr. Shelby! Team Hell No attacks Team Rhodes Scholars. Team Hell No and Dr. Shelby with a lot of "YES" to end it. YES! That was freakin' awesome. Pure awesome.

Kane vs. Damien Sandow: Singles action tonight. Basic match here, Kane wins with the chokeslam in about two minutes. N/A

Mick Foley introduced as the first inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Foley comes out to a big pop. Shield comes down through the crowd and circles the ring. Ryback comes down, then Orton and Sheamus. Shellshocked to Ambrose. Shield retreats. Ryback wants the Shield. Thank you. Now Ryback has a reason to stay out of the WWE Title picture for a while.

Most outrageous gimmicks video package. Goldust and Gillberg FTW. Oh, and Regal's a real man's man. You're welcome.

Kaitlyn vs. Eve Torres (Divas Title): Again, Eve loses the title if she gets counted out or DQ'd. Kaitlyn's got the Texas shirt on in her hometown of Houston. Basically similar feel to when Miss Tessmacher won her first TNA Knockouts Title last year. JBL wins again for calling Teddy Long a "George Jefferson peanut head." Eve gets the head scissors-style choke on Kaitlyn, but Kaitlyn to the ropes. Shoulder tackles from Kaitlyn and reverse DDT for two. Crowd thought it was done because Kaitlyn has used that for a finisher in the past. Eve hits her swinging neckbreaker but only two! Eve rips Kaitlyn's Texas shirt. No wardrobe malfunction. Kaitlyn hits her gutbuster finisher but Eve rolls out of the ring. Kaitlyn goes out after her, a questionable move since Eve can lose the title on a countout. Eve tosses Kaitlyn into the barricade. Kaitlyn manages to get back in the ring and Eve doesn't realize it. Kaitlyn hits the spear on Eve and we have a new champ! I like the spear finisher for Kaitlyn because she's got a more muscular build than most divas. **1/4

Didn't think it was as good as Beth Phoenix's last WWE match, but another good divas match, especially for WWE standards. Kudos to Kaitlyn; she's come a very long way since NXT.

Josh Mathews interviews Brodus Clay about the CM Punk pipebomb last week. Brodus gonna get his hands on Punk tonight.

RAW flashback: 2007 contract signing with Trump and Vince. Trump shoves Vince on his ass. Yay.

CM Punk vs. Brodus Clay: This is Punk's 421st consecutive day as WWE champ. Brodus aggressive early. Straightforward match. Punk hits the Randy Savage elbow and slaps on the Anaconda Vice. Brodus taps. Brodus still didn't impress me, even against a worker like Punk. *1/2

Punk promo afterward. He lists all the facts he's accomplished. He says the people are entitled to their opinion on if Rock's entertaining. Punk vows to defeat Rock at the Rumble to cement his legacy as the best in the world. Another great promo, as always.

More wacky moments from RAW's 20 years involving cars, trucks, ambulances, zambonis, etc. Oh, and swimming in beer. Ah yes, the days of the Cryme Tyme Cenation. Shad got interviewed on that several weeks ago; the CTC reportedly got phased out because of Cena. I guess Cena's had to step on a bunch of people to get to where he is today.

Rock and Foley backstage segment. Rock 'n Sock Connection has come back to Houston! Vickie interrupts and tells Foley and Rock to shut up. Rock has no words for Vickie?! Oh, watch the Rock concert later? Sounds good.

Sheamus vs. 3MB: Handicap match where you have to eliminate people by tossing them over the top with both feet hitting the floor. JBL still with the jabs on 3MB. After a few minutes that people could just skip, Sheamus eliminates Jinder and McIntyre in a 10-second span. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick and ends up over the top rope to the apron. Jinder and McIntyre pull Sheamus to the floor and 3MB wins. Sheamus is pissed and nukes all three guys after the match. So 3MB basically loses even though they won. Sounds about right. *1/4

For the Royal Rumble match, Cole noted that participants will enter every 90 seconds again. 30 participants. So Mysterio's record time (over 62 minutes) is basically safe for another year.

Cena backstage promo. Nice Braden Walker reference.

Miz TV is next. Guest will be a Hall of Famer. Miz gives a hint: "WOOOOOO!" plus the struts. Yay, it's Flair! Only two-time WWE Hall of Famer (as an individual and as part of the Four Horsemen). Miz asks what Flair's favorite RAW moment was. For Flair, it was the sendoff he got on RAW after HBK sent him into retirement. We got a wooo-off! Video package on a bunch of signature catchphrases throughout the years. Hey, Spirit Squad in there! Miz gets Flair to do his "limosuine-ridin', jet-flyin', kiss-stealin'" catchphrase, and Cesaro interrupts. Cesaro wears American tights and holds the U.S. flag. Cesaro probably just came from the gym, because he looks even more ripped than usual. Crowd chants "USA." Insults Miz and Flair. Flair chops and Miz with the SCF to Cesaro. Flair tells Miz to put the figure-four on Cesaro! So now perhaps Miz acquired a new move? Win.

RAW flashback from January 1998. Vince introduces Mike Tyson, Austin interrupts, and we got a fight.

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan: Lawler calls Cody's mustache an "anorexic caterpillar." Ouch. DB catches Rhodes in the NO lock and Cody taps. Or is it the YES lock again? Match took about 75 seconds. Um, OK. N/A

Cole said during the Rhodes/Bryan match that there was huge breaking news concerning Eve. Eve's last promo on the WWE Active app. Yeah, Eve quits. Old news to many people. In all seriousness, though, I wish her well. She was a lot better as a heel act. Eve's engaged to Rener Gracie, so she'll be getting married and then leading the Gracie "Women Empowered" self-defense program. Pretty exciting stuff for Eve.

AJ Lee and Big E Langston next. Oh crap. We get to revisit past WWE weddings! AJ flubs some words but introduces the first two moments. First up, Edge and Lita in 2005 (Kane tombstones a priest). Next, Steph and HHH renew wedding vows in 2002 (HHH Pedigrees Vince and leaves Steph at the altar). Langston speaks and didn't screw up this time. Video of the AJ/Daniel Bryan wedding from RAW #1000 (AJ leaves DB at the altar to become RAW GM). AJ crying because she says Cena cost her the GM job. Ziggler comes in and says he's gonna beat down Cena tonight.

Jim Ross comes down to call Cena/Ziggler cage match. Four-man announce crew for this one.

Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena (Cage): Win by pinfall, submission, or escape cage. Ziggler tries to escape and Cena catches him, so they fight when on the top rope. Cena falls off and Ziggler gets crotched. Double ouch. Never really was a fan of people trying to escape the cage, prefer people to use the cage a lot for a pinfall or submission. Ziggler with another awesome dropkick when both are on the top rope. Langston "holds Cena up" and prevents Cena from winning during the commercial break. Typical Cena comeback moves. Cena goes for AA, Ziggler tries to escape up the cage. We get the partial moon shot. Thanks, WWE. AA countered again, and Ziggler superkick gets two. Ziggler becomes a human tug-of-war rope between Langston and Cena. Ouch again. Cena pulls Ziggler in for the STF, but Ziggler with a sweet counter into the sleeper. Cena climbs to the top with Ziggler on his back, then falls off to break the sleeper. Cena tries to escape through the door and Langston smashes the door in Cena's face. Ziggler covers for two. Cena tries to go over the top and kicks the cage door back in Ziggler's face. Langston wields a chair to get Cena back up the cage and in the ring. Ziggler with a Zigzag for two. OK, this is ridiculous. Cena on the top again. Ziggler hits a super DDT on Cena -- and TWO AGAIN. WTF. Ziggler's hitting everything and Cena just kicks out. Nothing new there, fellas, but still makes me shake my head. AJ goes ballistic and scales the cage. Langston gets in the cage to go after Cena. Ziggler tosses the MITB briefcase but decks Langston. AA to Ziggler and Cena gets three. ***1/2

I'm basically rating that match as such because of Ziggler's performance. I was really hoping Ziggler could be booked to win as clean as possible in a Cena match -- basically meaning it'll still be a screwy finish because Cena almost never loses clean (just stating a fact). A clean win over Cena will probably only happen when the guy is ready to retire. Rock doesn't count because he was already destined for the Hall of Fame before last year's WM match.

Frankly, it's another crushing loss for Ziggler. He remains in a main-event storyline but the proverbial glass ceiling is back in effect. Even in a storyline where no titles are actually at stake, Dolph is seemingly not allowed to get a clean win. Ziggler had to put his MITB briefcase on the line against Cena at TLC last month? Still don't see the additional short-term benefit Ziggler got from that. People realize putting the briefcase on Cena would be stupid because the guy doesn't need it. I'm sorry kids, but your superhero Cena has to lose clean one day. Why can't it be Ziggler that gets the nod? I for one have no clue what else he needs to do.

Last year was a perfect example of how Cena doesn't need to win the big matches to stay relevant. He lost to Rock, lost to Punk multiple times, got injured late in the year, and got stuck in the whole "People Power" crap with Laurinaitis -- yet Cena merchandise still flew off the shelves. Cena's main event spot is forever safe, without need for MITB briefcases or constant title shots. Ziggler's earned his stripes and then some. Give the Show-Off his due.

For the record, I'm really not a Cena hater. Cena deserves his spot because he's had great feuds with other great superstars (i.e., CM Punk). He still cuts good promos that can at times be excellent. I've simply become a fan of Ziggler's work. I still don't care for the atrocious name he got stuck with, but whatever works, I guess.

Sure, it's still January, but this was a big non-PPV match for the storyline. I'd have preferred AJ and Langston get ejected for whatever reason (make one up, who cares) and it leads to a Ziggler cage win. I don't care if it takes 17 Zigzags and 15 superkicks. Give Ziggler the damn win.

Show ends with the Rock concert. He pokes fun at how he looked on his first RAW appearance. Escaped mental patient getting ready to audition for the Backstreet Boys? Sounds about right. OK, now to the concert. Rock's first number is to Paul Heyman. ZZ Top in the house! Next song for Vickie Guerrero! Rock wants Vickie to come on out, so she does. And Rock wins the internet for that song. Look it up online somewhere because it had me rolling.

Finally, Rock calls Punk out. Rock says he promises to beat Punk in 13 days for the WWE Title. Oh, and Heyman's got Twinkie Tits. Punk sprints to the ring and the fight's on. Four refs try to separate the two guys as the show ends.

One final thing: Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels both had prior commitments in Vegas and couldn't be at RAW. Some people apparently didn't like that the two HOFers weren't there because this historic RAW happened to be in Texas. Cue facepalm.

It was a much more "normal" show than the 1000th RAW episode last year. Legends didn't pop up left and right, and any "appearances" were really limited to the video packages.

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