The RAW View (31/10/2011): The Sodding MUPPETS Were On RAW

Lookalikes? Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger berate Miss Piggy and Kermit

The Rock Accepted John Cena’s Request to Tag With Him at Survivor Series
First off, we had The Rock … via satellite. I don’t know whether there was a problem with Rocky’s diary or whatever, but at this point, if he’s made commitments to WWE (especially considering his claim that he’s never going away, as well as the fact that his answer was sold as a big cliffhanger), he should be making an effort to be in Atlanta for a few hours to duel with Cena. All this aside, Rock’s promo was pretty good. Last week, Cena was probably too complimentary of Rocky last week, and so it was especially important to retain the tension between the two, and Rock made sure to do so by noting his sheer distaste for Cena before eventually agreeing to team with him for the good of the kids (Team Bring It). So a good way to progress the storyline and keep the tension between the two, while allowing them to tag together at Survivor Series. Just a shame Rocky couldn’t make it.

Mark Henry def. CM Punk via DQ
I was surprised to see this go out first because I expected it to be the main event. Happily, this card position made sense. This was more of an angle than a match as Henry and Punk started out with some nice spots as Punk reverted to his strong style to try and weaken the World’s Strongest Man, while Henry, of course, out-gunned Punk. Importantly, Punk had Henry down and had the upper hand following a Macho Man elbow, at which point, Del Rio appeared with Ricardo Rodriguez, but not to harm Punk. Instead they wanted to cost him his claim to a title shot, and given that the stipulation was that he would get one if he beat Henry, it made sense that Del Rio would attack Henry to cost Punk the match. In fact, i’ve never understood why this spot hasn’t been used the in the past. It makes so much sense! Del Rio wont say that he fears Punk, but he’ll say it with his actions, and rather than risking Punk winning by DQ, they made sure he would lose by ensuring he was DQ’d. Not only that, but it has created more bad blood between the two.

Eve Torres Won a Battle Royal to Become the #1 Contender to the Divas Championship
I have a love-hate relationship with the divas costume … events? I enjoy the tradition of them seen as they only really happen once a year, but it does seem a little awkwardly objectifying still. Maybe ‘objectifying’ is the wrong word; perhaps ‘disrespectful’ is better – after all, why couldn’t the men do it, for one match at least? All that aside though, I like the idea behind this. Regular readers will be aware of my demand for more #1 contendership contests, and if WWE want Eve back in, it makes sense to have her beat the rest of the roster and earn another shot. It surprises me a little because Alicia Fox seemed destined for the next shot after beating Nattie on Smackdown (the fact that this result rendered that loss unrequired kinda annoyed me), but perhaps that was nixed – again, as a fan of Eve, I have no problem with that. It was quite a good battle royal actually, and Nattie was allowed to regain some dignity in the match, really looking dominant but falling to an attack from behind from Eve.

Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes def. AirBoom (Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston)
My first reaction to this was surprise: why were Rhodes and Barrett tagging together!? I figured it was just a way to get them both on TV. It was a good, fever-pitched match from all, but especially, as you would expect, from AirBoom. Nothing too interesting happened – possibly because Rhodes and Barrett don’t have too much chemistry … because they’ve never (I think) worked together. The end was good though; playing on the finish to Barrett’s win against Trent Baretta on Smackdown, Evan Bourne attempted a hurricanrana, only to be hoisted on to Barrett’s shoulders for a Wasteland. Now, Bourne escaped this attempt, but later, was caught on the turnbuckle by Barrett for a successful Wasteland and the win. I was really surprised at the tag champs losing like this, and with the run-in from Christian (and therefore, Sheamus) following, I pressumed it was a set-up for a traditional Survivor Series match. That may still be the case, but with the shocking news that Evan Bourne has been suspended for a violation of the wellness policy. This may explain the loss (and Bourne taking the pin), but it must surely signal the end of their impressive tag title reign, which is a real shame – in fact, it is rumoured that they could even drop the titles on Smackdown. If they do, I hope it isn’t to Rhodes and Barrett. I’m not sure about their chemistry, and Rhodes seems set on a fascinating path with Randt Orton. Though the ‘Barrett Barrage’ seems like an individualistic pursuit, I think he and that apparently (somewhat) reinvigorated Drew McIntyre would make a good challenging team, with Barrett demanding a match (with a partner of his choice) for the titles based on this win.

The Big Show def. Alberto Del Rio
I always bitch about Big Show (well I have been recently at least), but he has been putting on better matches than I would usually expect from him. There were some nice moments of Del Rio trying to comba Show’s sheer size, especially the epically long sleeper hold which ADR applied. I liked this technicque, but it did make for a very slow-paced match, for most of the match; and though Show’s tree-trunk like legs being wrapped around the Mexican Aristocrat for some time was very visually engaging, it didn’t make for the most exciting encounter, though there were some good near-falls throughout. Del Rio looked good against The Giant, getting some near-falls, but Show looked good too to stay in the match (though his throwing Del Rio out of the ring at every near fall was a little repetative), Del Rio was getting most of his offense from his feet. As it turned out, he went to the well too many times as, when attempting his rope step-up enziguiri he was caught with a W.M.D. (punch) from Big Show, earning Show the three count. It’s pretty clear that Show will be challenging again for the World Heavyweight Championship and so I guess this will be part of the currency for doing so. I dislike the booking very much though. Del Rio, the WWE Champion, lost for no good reason, and so looked weak, at best, to get Big Show currency to challenge for a different championship.

CM Punk Forced Alberto Del Rio To Give Him a WWE Championship Match at Survivor Series
CM Punk was destined to get his match at Survivor Series, but in order to do so, he would have to jump through the hoops of the WWE machine. John Laurinaitis first insisted that Punk would have to beat Mark Henry, and later, that he would need the unlikely permission of Alberto Del Rio himself. There was some perfectly logical booking in Punk’s first attempt, and equally logical booking at this, his second attempt. With Del Rio down, he woke him up with some of R-Truth’s water (probably explaining his only brief appearance last night) before calmly explaining to him that he was going to get Del Rio to agree to a title match by putting him in the much-beloved Anaconda Vice. This worked as Punk planned and Del Rio agreed to the match. Alone, this may have seemed like a cowardly act, but with the knowledge that Laurinaitis was trying to block Punk’s attempts, and that Del Rio had cleverly cheated Punk out of his opportunity, it was only fair that Punk did what he could to play the system back to his advantage. It seems again that Johnny Ace is protecting Del Rio, but Punk used Funkhauser’s own words against him by fulfilling his conditions far a title match, forcefully. Now you may wonder why Punk couldn’t just have beaten Henry at the start for the same result. Well this option was much better; Henry didn’t have to lose, while the idea that Laurinaitis is in Del Rio’s pocket and against Punk was further confirmed, while the events themselves added more tensions between the two competitors. Very clever build.

Santino Marella def. Jack Swagger
One of the first things to happen on RAW last night was Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger confronting our Muppet hosts (pictured above). It was a really funny bit of slapstick cartoon in the wrestling vein as Miss Piggy and Vickie angrily chest-bumped each other whice Swagger bullied Kermit by pinching his mouth closed to the point where Kermit collapsed. Watch the funny scene below:

Well after Santino interrupted the heel bullying, a match between him and Swagger was set up. Swagger hasn’t been a bastion of comedy in the WWE, but he was taking part in a comedy match with one of the best in Santino, and given the light-hearted nature of the match, I enjoyed how it went down. Swagger was dominating for the most part, to keep him looking strong, though Santino wasn’t out of it yet. At the ropes, Beaker appeared and gave Santino an ‘energy drink’ made by Dr. Bunsun to help him compete. I expected him to drink it and become unstoppable, but instead (and much more funnily), Santino couldn’t swallow the powerful mixture, and when turned around by Swagger, spat it all in his face, blinding the All American American and gaining the victory. A really nice, entertaining match for what it was, and because it was a comedy match with the Muppets, it didn’t cost Swagger anything really. The footage of the fun and surreal moments can be viewed below:

and while i’m at it, here’s reality imitating art as the much photoshopped companionship of Sheamus and Beaker (a meme long before anyone knew the Muppets would be anywhere near RAW) came to fruition last night:

Zack Ryder def. Dolph Ziggler
These two are great together. I don’t know how many weeks in a row I can say it. This was pretty short, but also probably the match of the night, such is the efficiency of each guy’s in-ring work. This was high paced and impactful, with Ziggler hitting one of his wonderful dropkicks, only to be (perhaps surprisingly) matched by a missile dropkick of Ryder’s own. Each man was doing great in their respective roles too, with the fans loving Ryder and hating Ziggler, so much so that the duelling chants were between two Ryder chants (‘Lets Go Ryder’ and ‘Woo Woo Woo’). As the match progressed, it only got quicker and better. After a Bro Kick, Ziggler was on the ropes and hit a desperation jawbreaker. He looked to follow this up with a splash, but dived right in to double knees, seemingly for a 3-count, but Ziggler’s feet was under the ropes. I don’t know if this was intentional or not (i’m not sure why it would be given the result), but the referee saw it, and restarted the match. Usually, under such circumstances, you would expect the person pinned to win, but here, Ryder again got the win following a Rough Ryder after avoiding a Zig Zag. A nice finish and a good match. I suppose, if the false-finish was intended, it was invented as a way to show Ryder’s toughness and perseverance, which makes sense to me. The controversy and the further win for Ryder puts him right back in the US title hunt (and sweeping Mason ‘I Lost My Ball’ Ryan back out) while creating even more tension between the two very modern superstars.

John Cena def. The Miz /w R-Truth
In this WrestleMania re-match, Cena and Miz had a pretty decent match in which Miz didn’t look too bad for the most part. I don’t have the determination to go in to too much detail about the match though, given the result and overall feeling of the match. Though Miz was close to a match for Cena, towards the end of the match, R-Truth appeared in the crowd, in a Halloween Scream mask to attack Cena. It was at this point that we saw the resurgence of SuperCena. He dispatched Truth ‘with the greatest of ease’ , avoiding Miz’s Skull Crushing Finalé and reversing it in to an STF. Miz tapped quickly before Truth entered the ring (still in Scream mask), and walked straight in to an AA like a Bond henchman. For the second consecutive week, Cena dispatched both Miz and Truth ‘with the greatest of ease’. It’s been said so much it’s almost a cliché, but if Cena can beat up both on his own, surely he could team with anyone on the current WWE roster to beat them, and not, y’know, the man he supposedly hates. There are two explanations for this. The first is going to sound like a very broken record: the only reason Cena could want Rock there is if he wants him there to attack him – i.e. if we have a Cena heel-turn; something that would make sense for many reasons. Or, less tangiably, Cena could want Rock there to ‘send a message’ with his performance. Now, whatever happens, this match will be interesting (it is a build that genuinely can’t be messed up, simply because The Rock will be wrestling again, alongside Cena), but going in, is anyone watching genuinely worried that the evil Awesome Truth are going to be able to topple Rock and Cena? Just because the build can’t be botched, doesn’t mean it should be done as poorly as possible, and in the coming weeks, Miz and Truth will need to score some points against the faces – hopefully on the 3 hour ‘Rock is here’ special, which will otherwise be another burying Rock love-fest like his second ‘birthday’ was.

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