The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 02/20/12
By John Canton (Twitter @johnreport)
If you’re wondering where the Elimination Chamber recap is, I haven’t seen it yet. I was out. I will watch it later in the week and post my recap this coming Sunday. I want to have all the PPVs recapped and I’m sure people reading this want to know my opinion because why else would you be reading? I know what happened, though, so let’s move onto Raw.
Live from Minneapolis, Minnesota this is the Raw Deal…
The show started with a video package highlighting that Kane/Cena/Ryder/Eve ordeal from last week. Then we cut to a backstage segment with Eve talking to the Bella Twins. This was not Oscar level acting here. Eve laughed about what happened last week, effectively turning her heel. That’s the right call considering the boos she got last week. She said that she just used Ryder, that he was a loser that couldn’t even get to first base with a woman like her and it was her plan to use Ryder to get to Cena. Then John Cena walked in. He heard the whole thing. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine gave tic tacs to an office worker because he was a “sidler” that snuck up behind people? John Cena is a sidler too. Now we know. Somebody get Cena some tic tacs. Anyway, Eve regretted what she said when she saw Cena as she did the “oh no I messed up” kind of face. Then we got the Nickelback music for the show.
The John Cena guy that you may know from one video package per week entered to a good reaction. There weren’t as many boos as you would have thought. It would have been nice to see him sell the beating of the Ambulance Match by holding his back a little bit or something like that, but over the years I’m used to Cena not selling after a physical match. It’s okay, I guess. Before Cena could talk, Eve walked out. She looked pretty hot. I’m not a big Eve fan, but damn she’s a fine looking woman. Plus she’s dressed much better in the last two weeks. Heel women tend to look better. That’s just how it is. She said her comments were taken out of context and she could explain. When she tried to explain, Cena said she cost him his broski friend Zack Ryder and then he called her a hoeski. There was a “hoeski” chant after that. We’ll go with hoeski as the spelling although to me a hoe is a garden utensil while a ho is a whore so it should be hoski. But we’ll stick with the version with the E. Plus it’s in the wonderful Melo Man banner above. Back to the show, Cena said Eve should go after The Rock because they were both scandalous bitches. I don’t think “bitches” is very PG, but the crowd sure loved it. Cena also had a great line when he said he was disease free and wanted to keep it that way. I guess Eve is a slut then? That is bullying! Be a star, John! Anyway, it was funny. If he wants to be disease free maybe he should stay away from Kelly Kelly too. Yes I know he’s married. I’m just saying. Eve was heartbroken, so she grabbed Cena and tried to kiss him again. He avoided it. Suddenly, two refs plus some random dude in a suit came out to console Eve, who was crying on her knees. Crowd booed her during all of this.
It was an interesting segment, but it was an effective segment because it made people like Cena for rejecting Eve, who is now a heel obviously. She could be decent in the role. It’s not like she was good as a face, so why not turn her? People are going to boo her for a while because of all this. Cena came off like a great guy in this segment, which was the point. Well done.
How about a summary of this Cena/Eve/Ryder story in picture form?
You can click on the image to make it bigger. Thanks to my buddy Rob Sherman of anacomics.com for sharing that awesome artwork with me.
They aired an Undertaker video package hyping that he’d be on the show later.
Live on Smackdown Tuesday (tonight if you’re reading on Tuesday) is CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan. Love it. Give them 20 minutes please.
Sheamus d. Mark Henry (*)
Remember how hot this feud was in the summer? It’s a shame it never really ended, but perhaps they can go back it after Sheamus wins the World Title. Raw GM John Laurinaitis allowed Henry to wrestle here even though Teddy Long suspended him. They only worked about three minutes. Henry was in control for a brief moment, went for the World’s Strongest Slam and Sheamus countered it with the Brogue Kick for the win. That move is very popular with the fans. It always garners a big pop. The Sheamus/Bryan feud should be a lot of fun. I liked their match on Smackdown a lot.
Backstage, John Laurinaitis and his stooge David Otunga were celebrating things as Teddy Long came in. They talked trash. Teddy insulted him as well as Otunga. This set up a ten man battle royal for later with the winner of the match getting a shot at the WWE Title. Teddy said there’d be Smackdown people in the match. I guess we’re supposed to pretend like there’s some Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry again. Then they set up a match for Otunga later against a Smackdown opponent of Teddy’s choice.
Next week The Rock is back live on Raw. I think I’m writing about it live next week. We’ll see.
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth d. Primo & Epico w/Rosa (*)
They teamed Kofi up with another guy that failed a drug test recently. Poor guy. Of course Kofi & R-Truth won this non-title match. I’m not sure if this means this will be a WrestleMania match or they will build the feud up, but it would be fine by me. They need teams. I don’t think there’s much interest in really pushing Truth or Kingston as singles, so might as well team them up. They won in about three minutes with Kingston hitting Primo with the Trouble in Paradise.
They announced that later in the show there’d be another Hall of Fame inductee announcement.
Back from break, they announced Ron Simmons aka Farooq as being the next member of the Hall of Fame. This news leaked on the internet about a month ago. I’m still happy about it. His title win over Vader in WCW 20 years ago was very historic and he had a very solid career. The video package they aired didn’t mention the Nation of Domination, which is a group he led that was also important for Rock’s career. They focused on the “DAMN!” line at the end. I loved the “DAMN!” spot over the years. Congrats to Ron Simmons. The Hall of Fame is a fun night. I’m looking forward to it.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Chris Jericho who said he wasn’t really eliminated from the EC match and that he was deemed unfit to compete after getting hurt on Sunday, which he disagreed with. He said he’s the best in the world at he does. The fact that he was the only guy in the main event to really talk about the match probably gave away who was winning. I have no problem with that. I just think that maybe they could have had a few others interrupt to throw a little doubt into it.
As previously mentioned, I’m reviewing every WWE WrestleMania event prior to WrestleMania 28 exclusive to the newly designed TJR. Recent updates include the excellent (aside from the main event) WrestleMania 8 show & the awful WrestleMania 9 show that likely caused me to suffer brain damage because I had to re-watch it. Thankfully WrestleMania 10 is up next on Wednesday with two of my favorite matches ever. You can catch up by viewing the archive here if you missed anything. The feedback has been amazing. Thank you so much. Keep it coming.
They mentioned that Wild Ones by Flo Rida was one of the WrestleMania theme songs. I like it. “Good Feeling” is a better song, but this is a good choice too. I like Flo Rida’s music.
David Otunga d. Ezekiel Jackson (1/4*)
Of all the people Teddy Long could pick to win this match, he picked a guy that loses most of the time. Teddy’s an idiot, I guess. He’s certainly booked that way a lot of the time. Otunga won with his spinebuster for the win. They got less than two minutes. Laurinaitis celebrated with Otunga while Long looked sad at ringside. It’s like he was saying to himself: “I should have booked a tag team match playa!”
They showed a video about the Triple H/Shawn Michaels promo last week.
Meanwhile, we got a video of Undertaker walking backstage. The video only showed his boots. You know you’re a big deal when they only show your feet.
I love when they show the calendar showing how many days it is until we get to WrestleMania. It’s under 40 days now. I’m looking forward to my five days in Miami very much.
The Undertaker calls out Triple H
The Undertaker made his entrance while wearing a hooded coat…similar to the Laycool hoodie his wife Michelle McCool used to wear. He said: “Hunter, I want to beat you again because you made me watch The Chaperone.” Okay so that’s a joke. We never saw his bald head or short hair or whatever look he was sporting here. I like that there’s a mystery to it. He stumbled over his words a bit early on when he was out there on his own, but it wasn’t that bad. The crowd was chanting “WHAT?” during his speech. That threw him off a bit, I think. It’s rare to see a crowd do that to Undertaker too. The Minneapolis crowd was very good for the most part, but I don’t understand why they would chant that at him. Undertaker said a lot of the same things he did a couple of weeks back and said he and Hunter are the end of an era in wrestling. I like that he said wrestling – not sports entertainment. Sorry Mark Henry, you started in WWE around the same time as Triple H, but you don’t count. Hunter Hearst Suit McMahon Helmsley walked out to a nice ovation. The ring was had blue lighting so I guess that means even though Hunter is the COO he cannot control the lighting when Undertaker is around. For the ones out there that take everything too serious, that is sarcasm. I like sarcasm. Hunter spoke, Undertaker told him to shut up and said it was pitiful that Hunter didn’t want to do this match. Hunter reiterated his “bad for business” claim from a few weeks ago. He continued in that same vain as the intensity picked up. Undertaker said he could spin it any way he wants, but he’s being a coward about it. Uh oh, there’s the coward word again. Hunter said he was sick of the coward thing while the crowd chanted “He’s a coward” at him and he said he’s not going to be the one that finished Undertaker.
Hunter left the ring. With his back to him, Undertaker continued to get under his skin. He said Hunter couldn’t finish him just like Shawn. He said that it was because Hunter knew Shawn was always better than him. It is true that Shawn was better, but in the mind of the character of Triple H he thinks he’s the best, so that really got under his skin. He took off his jacket and his tie. Oh no, the suit wearing guy is mad now! Back in the ring, Hunter said that Shawn couldn’t get the job done but Hunter knew that he could. The intensity of this promo went way up. This is HHSMH at his best. “You want this? You want WrestleMania? You want an end?” Then he paused for effect before saying: “You’ve got it!” Huge ovation for that. Hunter said if they do this then it’s the end of the era. He said he’d wrestle Undertaker under one condition: Hell in a Cell. An even bigger ovation for that. I love it. Undertaker didn’t say yes, but they confirmed later in the show that it was a go. As Undertaker left, the Metallica song “The Memory Remains” started playing. Good tune. I guess they’ll use it like the Johnny Cash “Ain’t No Grave” song last year.
I hope that summary did the promo justice. It’s hard to cover it all and I’m not writing this to give you detailed play by play on everything. I loved this line by Undertaker: “Because you know that Shawn was always better than you.” And the crowd reaction plus Hunter getting mad were great too. Hunter was so mad that he morphed from the suit wearing son in law to the angry guy that used to kick people’s ass when he wrestled. That’s what made this promo so good. It wasn’t about these two just having a match. It was about going through hell (in a cell) to determine who truly was the better wrestler between these two legends that we’ve grown up watching over the years. This felt like a real wresting promo between a guy that wears a suit because he married “that chick” and a guy that wears eyeliner. Relax, haters. I’m kidding. I’m a fan of both guys. I’m excited to see this Hell in a Cell match in person because I’ve never seen one before. I’m also wondering how they’re going to get the cell out there for the match because hanging it above the stadium in Miami (it doesn’t have a roof) is going to be quite the task. Obviously they know they can do it or else they wouldn’t announce it, but it will be interesting to see how they manage to get the cell in place in an outdoor stadium. I’m looking forward to this match very much. I think it will be along the lines of Undertaker vs. Edge at Summerslam 2008, which was an epic HIAC match with the PG rating too. You can still have a brawl if you book it the right way. I have a lot of faith in these two doing it right.
The Rock’s new DVD comes out today. I think I’ll be picking that up. I love the documentary features on these DVDs. They are wonderful.
Random poll run-in about next year’s WrestleMania!
I’m leaning towards a no, but if it does happen I’d be fine with that too. Next year will mark 10 years since Austin last had a match. It would be a tough match to pull off at the high level he’s used to.
Prior to the next match, Daniel Bryan bragged about winning the Elimination Chamber match. I like how he incorporates the random “YES!” yells into these promos.
Daniel Bryan d. Santino (1/2*)
Not a great match because it was only about a minute long. Bryan slapped him into the LeBell Lock and Santino tapped. I’m fine with that. The champ needs dominant wins. It makes him look like a badass, which he is. I’m looking forward to Bryan vs. Punk on Smackdown. I’ll write about that in Canton’s Corner on Saturday.
They plugged that John Cena would be coming out to talk to us later.
The Bella Twins d. Kelly Kelly & Aksana (-*)
Yep that’s a negative star. Aksana looked lost in there. She was slow for some spots, her offense looked terrible and she did one of the worst elbow drops I’ve ever seen. It missed her opponent by a wide margin on a freaking elbow drop. Awful. Sadly, they had it on the camera that showed the botch right in front of us. The Bellas did their “Twin Magic” act to switch around and get the win. I’m tired of the Bellas. So are most people…except Vince McMahon apparently.
They returned to the show with Mr. Happy John Cena in the ring. Promo time.
John Cena addresses The Rock
I enjoyed this. It’s the kind of Cena promo that needs to happen on a more regular basis. The silliness of the Kane program ended, so he could focus on The Rock now. He referenced Eve by calling a “skankapotamus” so that was pretty great. Basically he said a lot of the same things that he usually says about how Rock isn’t there. He talked about Rock had a guy named Brian to write jokes for him, which is a reference to long time WWE writer Brian Gewirtz, who has likely written most of Cena’s promos over the years. He talked about how Rock had all these people working for him too. Then he kept calling him Dwayne. Cena made fun of his own movies, saying 12 Rounds and The Reunion basically sucked. I’ll take his word for it. They are not on my “must see” list. He said he may get fired for saying this (he won’t), but he said Rock only returned to WWE so he could plug Fast Five and his Twitter account. The Twitter account did launch on the day he returned to WWE last February, so there’s probably some truth to that. That’s why people think he was shooting here. Oh my god he’s shooting! Not really. Cena said he’s not fighting for himself, but for everybody behind the curtain (referring to other wrestlers) that loves to do what they do in the ring. He even said sorry for saying professional wrestler. What a nice guy. Let’s throw to a video package telling us how nice he is. I’m kidding. But he is nice. That part is true. He said that Rock is going to have to kill him because the headline is going to read that John Cena beat The Rock in the biggest match ever in Rock’s hometown. I agree. Cena will win. He should. Cena said he’d see the movie star next week. Then he threw the microphone down emphatically. The crowd cheered him through most of it. As they should have. It was an awesome promo.
Here’s my take on these kinds of promos. People that like Rock only or Cena only are going about this feud in a different way than I am. I like both guys. I like Rock more, but I have nothing against Cena. They’re building a program and a story. For all we know they could be the best of friends and could be texting eachother lines to say. Maybe Rock suggests that Cena rips on him being away. Maybe Cena suggested that Rock rip on his color of t-shirts. We don’t know. And that’s what is great about this feud. Cena makes a great point when he says Rock said he would never leave and then he left again. Rock makes great points when he said he went up and down the roads while Cena was still in college. He didn’t do it for that many years or as many years as Cena has done it, but he still did it. People that take it too serious or think they are shooting are just proving they are working them well. I’m not saying it’s bad to pick sides. I just think sometimes people overreact about what’s said in a wrestling promo. If it’s on Raw it’s not a shoot. Vince wouldn’t allow that. That’s bad for business. It’s a controlled environment. What Vince likes is when people get emotionally invested in promos like this. Obviously the people are really into it. It’s working perfectly. I’m glad that Rock will be back next well as well as most weeks prior to WrestleMania because it will increase my interest in the main event of WrestleMania 28. That’s the point. This was an awesome shot fired by Cena. I’m looking forward to Rock returning fire next week.
They went to break plugging the main event.
Prior to the main event, CM Punk made his way to ringside wearing his announcer’s jacket. He mocked Cole immediately for talking about trending topics, which amused me. All ten guys got their full intros with Jericho going last getting the superstar entrance because that’s what he does.
Chris Jericho won a 10 man battle royal (**)
The ten guys were the losers in the Elimination Chamber matches. I like calling this the third chance battle royal because most of these guys lost in the Royal Rumble (or in a title match there) and also lost in their Elimination Chamber matches. They eliminated Khali early because he sucks. Vince, it’s time to stop using him. It’s over. They went to a commercial early into the match.
The match got about 12 minutes, so it was a good amount of time for a battle royal. The newly formed Kofi & Truth team eliminated Miz. Miz needs a reset whether that means a face turn (I’d be in favor of it) or a move to Smackdown to get some newer opponents. Most of the guys hit their finishers in a nice sequence. Santino eliminated Barrett & R-Truth because Santino is now a powerful force in battle royals after winning one on Smackdown too. Then something bad happened. Big Show picked up Ziggler over his head and threw him over the top where Wade Barrett & R-Truth caught him. Barrett went down hard after hitting his left arm trying to protect Ziggler and was yelling “FUCK” many times while banging his right arm to the mat. It looked like a broken arm. The camera was on Vickie because Dolph was eliminated, but you could see a look of horror on her face while she looked down at Barrett yelling in pain. The refs made the dreaded “X” sign signaling an injury and medical officials checked on him immediately. I’ll write more about it in a bit. Jericho eliminated Kingston as Cole called him “Kofi Rhodes” at that moment. The bad thing about Smackdown live tonight is that we’re getting 7 hours of Michael Cole in three days. At least the heel act has been toned down a bit.
The final four was Jericho, Rhodes, Big Show & Santino. Nice Beautiful Disaster kick by Cody on Show. Jericho actually hit a Lionsault! Santino used the Cobra on Jericho. Cody clotheslined Santino out and Santino went flying over the top where he crashed into where Barrett was being looked at by doctors. They probably should have done that elimination on another side of the ring because that could have hurt Barrett even more. Big Show gave a suplex to Cody & Chris. Show eliminated Cody with one hand. Jericho grabbed him in a headlock and was trying to pull show out. That’s a 2004 Royal Rumble flashback. Jericho pulled him and Cody showed up to eliminate Big Show. I guess that means some kind of Rhodes/Show match at WrestleMania. If Shaquille O’Neal is involved I’d expect him to tag with Big Show while Rhodes gets a partner that could be somebody like Mark Henry. I don’t know if that’s the plan. Just throwing it out there. Post match, Jericho and Punk met in the ring. Punk extended his hand for a shake. Jericho walked out. Jericho walked outside the ring, asked ref Mike Chioda how Barrett was and the show ended with Punk posing. Jericho probably didn’t think he was on camera when he asked that to the ref. No big deal.
It was a good match. The win was very predictable of course. That’s why those PPVs don’t matter so much if you can earn a title match during a battle royal on Raw. The Raw Elimination Chamber match should have been a #1 Contenders match that would have been put Jericho over by having him win. Instead, he didn’t win two big matches and then had to settle for winning this. I realize Jericho’s over all the time and doesn’t need wins, but it’s better to give people real momentum going into a WrestleMania match. I don’t have an issue with the match. I’ve been writing about it for months. I just wish they had Jericho earn the match in a more impressive manner like winning the Rumble or Elimination Chamber. The promos leading up to the match should be amazing while the actual match itself has the potential to be the match of the year. Best in the world!
It was a decent main event that got a good amount of time although the Barrett injury was on my mind. By the looks of it, Big Show threw Ziggler too far. By doing that, the momentum carried Barrett & Truth further back, so they went crashing into the announce table and Barrett didn’t have much room to land. They probably should have done the catch on the other side of the ring where there is a lot more room up the aisle. On WWE.com it says that Barrett is out for 6-8 weeks. He’s likely going to miss WrestleMania, although he could make it back early. You never know. If you’re wondering, Dolph Ziggler is reportedly okay. He worked the dark match after the show, so nothing to worry about with him. Although I didn’t see the Chamber match yet, I was told he took some crazy bumps in that match. Be careful, Dolph.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Triple H – Fantastic promo work for the second week in a row.
2. Chris Jericho – Nice showing in the main event.
3. John Cena – See when he looked into the camera and said that he was back? He was, at least for this show. I hope it continues.
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 5
2012 Average: 6.13
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 4 (January 9)
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 4.5, 9, 7, 7
For anybody that thinks I only like a show with quality wrestling matches on it, I present you this week’s Raw. The matches didn’t really matter on the show aside from the main event, which was a foregone conclusion in many ways. The promos worked especially the Triple H/Undertaker one. Making that match a Hell in a Cell increases my interest in it. For the haters, maybe they will hate on those two lose. Neither man deserves hate. They deserve respect. It’s been earned over the years.
The main goal of the show seemed to be about redefining what the John Cena character is about. Instead of the poop jokes that don’t do anything for anybody, he threw some skank jokes that the fans enjoyed because Eve has become an unlikable person. Then Cena spoke from the heart. Great delivery. People liked it a lot as they should have. He did a great job with it.
I feel bad for Wade Barrett. The 6 to 8 weeks diagnosis is better than the 8 to 12 weeks one that came out last night, but it is unlikely that he’ll be back for WrestleMania although that is six weeks away. The best thing you can say is it’s a great thing that the injury isn’t worse because it looked very bad.
It was a big show in terms of WrestleMania because four matches are now confirmed for the show: Rock/Cena, Triple H/Undertaker Hell in a Cell, Punk/Jericho and Bryan/Sheamus. I still think they could add Orton to the Bryan/Sheamus match, but even if they don’t the top four matches at this year’s WrestleMania are all fantastic. Throw in a likely Money in the Bank match and you have the potential for this to be an awesome show if all the right matches get a good amount of time. I’m very excited about WrestleMania this year.
If you’re wondering about Brodus Clay, the word is that Vince McMahon has soured on the character because of his poor work in the ring. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. I wouldn’t be shocked if he returned after WrestleMania.
One thing that surprised me was they didn’t show any clips from the WrestleMania 29 press conference in New Jersey. Obviously they have a lot of time to mention that, but I figured there’d be something about it.
Finally, some quick plugs for some English friends of mine. First is a link to the WrestleTalk TV show on Youtube where they interviewed Hulk Hogan. It’s pretty good. Less Hogan bullshit than you normally here. There’s also this Wrestlecast with Joel Ross & Rob McNichol where they talk to Hogan about a number of different things. Once again, not a bad listen. Check them out if you need some listening material.
That’s all from me. Keep checking out newly re-designed thejohnreport.net for WrestleMania recaps three times per week, Canton’s Corner on Saturday, my delayed Elimination Chamber recap on Sunday and all the fine columns from the staff at TJR are posted every single day. Thanks for reading!
Here’s the Cena promo in case you missed it:
I was going to post a video of the Barrett injury, but it’s out there if you really want to see it. Search!
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org