The RAW View (14/11/2011): The Rock Rocks RAW Gets Rocked

The ‘Michael Cole Challenge’; CM Punk Explains the Michael Cole Challenge
I don’t have too much to say about the Michael Cole Challenge. It took up too much time, but also could have been worse. Jim Ross seemed to enjoy that dancing alright, and it was pretty awesome to see. Weighing him in public seemed like a backstage rib to a bonafide legend too far though, and after what seemed at least fifteen minutes, CM Punk came out to end it. The outcome of the challenge was seemingly that Cole ensured he couldn’t lose, and Punk took exception to this, and in full ‘Voice of the Voiceless’ mode, began explaining why the past 15 minutes of TV were essentially pointless, why JR is a better announcer, and why the audience tune out because of Michael Cole. Boy was he right, and boy was he righteous when he stuck the Anaconda Vice on Cole. The only shame is that it was Cole Punk got to do it to at this point.

Cody Rhodes & Hunico def. Kofi Kingston & Sin Cara
Pretty nice match here, especially from the lucha guys. Cara and Hunico put together some really nice spots in the match, while, if anything, Rhodes and Kingston showed up as a bit ropey. Nice finish to the match with a natural tag team match breakdown as Sin Cara and Hunico wrestled each other to the outside while, at the same, busy time, Kingston missed his Trouble in Paradise and ended up with a Cross Rhodes which was either sweet or botched (or actually both) as he seemed to corkscrew in to the mat rather than being flipped in to it. Again it was right that Kingston took the pinfall with him being in the abandoned ‘one half of the WWE tag team champions’ situation. He is certainly suffering from Evan Bourne’s suspension, and will only become relevant again when Bourne returns. Luckily, that should be soon, and when he comes back, it can be mixed with success and billed as Kingston ‘getting his mojo back’ to strengthen them even more as a tag team. Finally, a word on the Cody Rhodes tweak. I like his new approach to the dashing/grotesque gimmick. I’m not sure about the music yet, but i’m glad they took the natural opportunity to remove his mask. The mask was cool, but it had a shelf-life it was approaching. The good news is that he’s kept some of the ticks he picked up as the grotesque Rhodes, which only makes sense – it’s not like he could just become dashing again. He’s kept the maniac in him, and the bad jokes, but has rediscovered some of the smug cockiness. Always evolving, which is good for him.

Mason “Caught On CCTV” Ryan def. Dolph Ziggler via DQ
The introductions to the matches were the best bit about this match. Ziggler came out to talk about his Welsh muscle of an opponent, and once again, knocked it out of the park, so to speak. It’s worth paraphrasing the real internet champ: ‘tonight, i’m taking on something that is more cyborg than man. A superstar with two first names and no clue, Mason Ryan … and by the way, how damn good at this am I!?’ And yes, he is damn good at this. He’s also damn good at making the man-breast Mason Ryan look good in the ring. This didn’t last long, as Vickie Guerrero slapped Ryan to a DQ. Afterwards, despite not doing anything wrong himself, GI JoMo (jeans, no shirt) came down and wouldn’t allow Ziggler to leave, throwing him to the Welsh Dragon for a further beating. So what does this mean for the US title picture? The obvious #1 contender is Zack Ryder, who has beaten Ziggler numerous times and has the most successful social media petition of all time on his side. A distant #2 is Mason Ryan, who’s beaten Ziggler once or twice. A miles away #3 is John Morrison, who has vaguely been around Ziggler recently. Yet, it’s JoMo who is reportedly getting the shot at Survivor Series? The only way this makes sense to me is if Morrison’s about to turn heel. The pressure has been on Johnny Ace to give Ryder his deserved title shot, yet the man who likes to pick his contenders based on corporate preference has hand-picked, seemingly, John Morrison for the shot. If Morrison doesn’t become an ass-kisser heel, then i’m not pleased that JoMo is getting his shot out of no-where (probably because he’s dumped Melina).

Mick Foley’s John Cena – This Is Your Life
This was a pretty cool reliving of the highest rated segment in WWE history. Foley is the only man alive who could come out refusing to take a side between Rock and Cena, and get cheered to hell. This is because Mick Foley is possibly the nicest man ever. I wont go in to too much detail about it because it was such a long segment. However, there is an important bit of analysis: when Rocky did it, the selling point of the segment was Rocky being kinda a prick to all these people from the past because they had either underestimated or were trying to hang on to his coat-tails; and so he put them down in brilliant fashion. This week, it was all about Cena being mortified about these situations, and this robbed some of the guests from being entertaining. Bull Buchanan was a nice surprise, and he was entertaining as ‘damaged goods’, but the star was John Cena Sr! I didn’t know he used to be a manager, but it makes sense now! It was so funny watching him lamely supporting his son against the ‘haterz’ he has to rise above. I genuinely think Cena Sr would be brilliantly utilised as a manager for a young heel against Cena; someone like Swagger using him to take down his son. Just when Foley teased bringing out the legendary Yurple, The Rock’s music hit, and I popped huge! I also loved the spot where Foley went for the hug, and Rock just Rock Bottomed him and left. It made him seem really cool and intense, while having him end a segment I suspect was supposed to be ‘so bad it’s good’ in comic fashion was also pretty great. Was it anywhere near as good as The Rock’s This is Your Life? Of course not, but it was good and memorable.

Sheamus def. Jack Swagger
This here was probably the best match of the night. Sheamus is on a big unstoppable Irish push, fella, and I kinda thought he’d beat Swagger, who’s getting slowly re-pushed with relative ease. But instead, we were given a pretty even match, with lots of strong, equal offense. Swagger repeating his Vader Bombs to the back of the Great White before locking in an Ankle Lock made him look really good. Turning it around, however, Sheamus managed to end the match with an Irish Curse backbreaker followed by a Brogue Kick. Not a particularly imaginative finish, but nice stuff nonetheless, and another bit of build for the Survivor Series match.

Kelly Kelly def. Natalya
Wut? I’m not going to say too much about this because I don’t have the energy. I love the idea of the Divas of Doom, but it is getting straight-up botched (and you know how rarely I would say something so concretely negative). Just have the DoD’s, for lack of a better phrase, fuck some shit up, dammit! This is in a quagmire at the minute, and it needs a way out – having them fuck some shit up and DOMINATE .

Mark Henry & Alberto Del Rio def. CM Punk & The Big Show
To start this match, moments after Del Rio had hinted that Punk might not make it to Survivor Series, as Punk was doing a normal storywalk to the ring, he was attacked from behind by Del Rio to injure his arm going in to the match. There was some nice psychology in the match, especially from ADR, who was manipulating even his partner to face Punk because he didn’t want to. This fitted Del Rio, but didn’t fit Henry, who again, showed too much fear (i.e. any) of Big Show, tagging out very briskly when confronted with Show. That aside, there was some nice action here, with Del Rio continuing to work on Punk’s arm (all the better for submitting you with), while Punk and Show stayed strong and fought off the heels for the most part (including the awesome roundhouse from Punk to Henry which knocked him down. The finish of the match was also very good, with Punk attempting a springboard elbow against Del Rio, which does make sense because it could work, before Henry pushing Del Rio out of the way to catch him, which makes sense too as the cross-body wouldn’t work against Henry because of his size. This transitioned in to a World’s Strongest Slam, destroying Punk. I have no problem with him going down to the WSS and Henry, especially given the power behind the spot. My only problem was that it took quite a while for Punk to actually get covered and pinned, and perhaps that made him seem a little weak, but perhaps not. I certainly don’t think Punk looked bad, while Henry was allowed to look great against a top top guy. Following the match, Del Rio continued the aggression to Punk’s arm with a sustained cross arm-breaker, really working his arm going in to their Survivor Series match. With this and the Anaconda Vice being highlighted, it seems their match will be heavily submission based, or perhaps even that they could have a future submission match. What I liked seeing was Punk not tapping to the arm-breaker though, which should have left any doubts from him loosing at the door.

Kevin Nash Beat Up On Santino Marella
Santino very much had the Sword of Damocles over him when he came out to talk about how he was going to make him self a champion again. When Kevin Nash came out, I expected him to simply brush Santino aside to talk about how HHH didn’t invite him to his birthday on facebook or something similar. Instead, he swerved, pretending to like Santino and even referencing his trombone celebration before Big Booting him away. It was just a nicer, less predictable, way to get Nash on TV, while showing Nash off as a bully who’ll beat up anyone weaker in his way – something that actually makes him more interesting. Ok, so he basically repeated his spiel about his friend betraying him by not embracing his return. While Nash developed, his relationship with HHH didn’t. A bit of treading water, but maybe necessary treading of water.

Randy Orton and Wade Barrett Wrestled to a No Contest
This was the final bit of traditional Survivor Series build on RAW, and as soon as all ten guys had made it to the ring, it was clear we would have the usual break down involving everyone, which is absolutely fine. As I always say, sometimes, predictable is good, as long as what is predicted is well anticipated, and this is certainly the case. I would have rather seen them have to be broken up by referees or maybe the lockerroom instead of the babyfaces clearing the ring, but in the grand scheme of things, that is a minor point. A quick not on the entrances. When the heels came out, it was fine, they all made their way to the ring in an orderly fashion, backing their leader, but there was something hilarious about the way Team Orton did it, perhaps because of his methodical music not fitting with the raw or flamboyant energy of the usual entrances of the other stars. To see Sheamus, Kingston, and especially Sin Cara walk slowly behind Orton, in formation, like they have voices in their head or something, was just a little comically jarring. It also made Orton look like he’d reformed the Nu Legacy and turned heel.

The Rock Rocks RAW, The ‘Awesome Truth’ Confronted The Rock, and John Cena Confronted Everybody
The Rock came out to present himself to the crowd, not via satellite. His promo was really good, and as many people have already said, when the Rock is on RAW, he overshadows most of the roster on the mic quite significantly. There’s an old saying in comedy about people being funny enough to read the phone book and be funny. In wrestling, there are certain similar people, people like The Rock or CM Punk, who can talk about anything and have the crowd hanging on their words. This doesn’t mean that they should talk about anything. Indeed, Rocky took to talking us through his day, which apparently starts at 3.15 am (whatever Dwayne) where he immediately starts lifting weights and kicking people’s bottoms. There was a point to this promo though; it was detailing Rock’s journey back to RAW and back to Survivor Series. The problem was that the Rock was seemingly obsessed with twitter, so much so that it was like he had some sort of comedy split personality that would insist on starting it’s sentences with the ‘hashtag’, and end them with ‘trending worldwide.‘ And what’s even more shocking is that, apparently, this was all the Rock and not some kind of Vince McMahon dogma. Ultimately, this wasn’t such a big deal, but it was noticeable. His determination to start kicking booty – the booty’s of Miz and R-Truth to be precise. Just them being on Rock’s radar, and him being angry at them is enough to undo a lot of the burial they’ve suffered recently, and this was made even better when they came out immediately to meet the Brahma Bull. Miz and Truth didn’t have too much alone time with Rocky, but they did a good job of not looking like comparative schmucks on the mic, and even intimidating Rocky (even though he didn’t do much more than look ‘ready’). They made the quite valid point that they wanted to make history at Survivor Series and so weren’t interested  in ruining it on Monday, but as they went to leave, Cena’s music hit because he had two cents to throw in. Instead of really addressing The Awesome Truth though, he addressed, pretty much exclusively, The Rock. I did really like the aesthetic of Rock and Cena taking their nominal roles of ‘partners’ by standing together, facing the heels, but actually taking verbal shots at each other without looking at each other. This was a really good way to get the tension between the two established going in to Sunday, even if most of the insults weren’t that cutting. It was right, however, that there wasn’t any physicality between the two. To start that now would almost certainly leave the prospect of their fighting a little flat by WrestleMania – that stuff, apart from the odd Rock Bottom or AA – should be left until post-Elimination Chamber. The only shame was that Miz and Truth kinda became spare parts at this point while the faces told each other why their insults or attacks on each other would trend worldwide. This was combatted a little by Miz’s timely interjection that he was sick of their really quite childish back and forth, and then made the … awesome point that the last time this happened, he took advantage and won the main event of WrestleMania – therefore spelling out exactly the threat posed by the predatory Miz and R-Truth. Unfortunately, as soon as this face-off got physical, they were again dominated, with R-Truth quickly dispatched with a Rock Bottom before Cena tried to match him with an AA, but only for Rock to steal Miz from Cena’s shoulders for a second Rock Bottom. Again, Miz and Truth became puppets, but I did like the admittedly rather subtle dig of Rock stealing Cena’s spotlight by stealing his AA before hitting a Rock Bottom, walking up the stage and informing Cena that it is Cena who can’t see him. A warning shot, if you will, to Cena, and a hint to the audience that come Survivor Series, Rock and Cena aren’t gonna be on the same page! – a call that would be great if JR were there (but as Cole will say it, it’ll probably turn in to some argument with King about what a page is that will last longer than the match …). Nothing spectauclar here, but good action here to build tension and set the stories for the match at for Survivor Series (remember, it’s not like they need much – the friggin’ ROCK is gonna WRESTLE again).



2 thoughts on “The RAW View (14/11/2011): The Rock Rocks RAW Gets Rocked

  1. I’m not sure I would compare Punk to Rock in the promo department. Few guys in wrestling history can control a crowd on the mic like Rock. He’s in a select category with the likes of Piper, Savage, Hogan, Foley, Flair, Austin and Blassie. Don’t get me wrong though; Punk is the best guy on the mic in the business today.

    I felt that the entire Raw Gets Rocked was a good show, but not as good as it should’ve been for having Rock and Foley on the same show for the first time in years. The Foley segment was beyond horrible, though I guess it was booked that way. The closing segment was great, with the exception of continuing the trend of sapping the heat from Miz and Truth. I don’t think there is a fan on earth who buys them as serious competition for Rock and Cena.

    I also felt that the show pushed Twitter more than they did their own matches for Sunday. It’s going to be real interesting to see the Survivor Series buyrate in a few weeks.

    And subsctibe to my blog!!!! I’m subscribed to yours:)

    • I wouldn’t compare them really. In fact, their styles are completely different. Where they CAN be compared is in how they command attention.

      I think Punk is definitely in that category. I would put him ahead of most of those people actually, or at least on their level.

      You’re right though about most of what you say about RAW.

      and I thought I was? I will investigate.

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