The RAW View (28/11/2011): Pipe-r Bombs as Punker Wins

Punk celebrates after beating Del Rio with some Guerrero-esque techniques

Note from ‘that boy right there’ RTV: This morning, I had to get up at 8.30 am to go to work, and so didn’t watch RAW live, and so only got to watch it this evening and so am only able to write The RAW View now. Mixed in to the fold is the fact that Smackdown goes LIVE tonight (in about 2 hours actually) and I have to get up even earlier tomorrow at 7.30 am, and so can’t watch wrestling AGAIN. I’m not happy about this obviously, and i’ll only get to watch it tomorrow night. If I don’t write the RAW View now, it’ll never get written, so it has to be quick.. That in mind there wont be any of the detailed, eloquent, ‘broadcast journalism’ you’ve come to expect from this site. It’ll be more a simple ‘I like this/I don’t like this and why’. So without further ado, ‘HE GO’N DO IT!’

John Cena Appeared On Piper’s Pit
At first when Roddy Piper started talking about ‘energy’ and the ‘WWE Universe’, I worried about this edition of Piper’s Pit being a bit tame, but boy did Piper deliver. Always believe in Piper. He introduced John Cena, almost accusing him of not caring about the fans’ reaction to him. Piper then tried, with admittedly limited success, to show how the WWE fans respond to him with a mix of reactions that is mostly negative, and suggested that Cena was looking so bad against The Rock because he was concerning himself too much with these people and should cut loose, respond to his haters and concentrate on The Rock, literally inviting him to turn heel. But can Cena turn heel now? Is he already heel? It’s harder to answer than you might think. It seems more and more that Cena is simply ‘something else’ – at times it’s infuriating, but when put in interesting positions (Nexus, Summer of Punk, Rock feud), he becomes fascinating. At the moment, Cena seems like a man of stifling honour under pressure from all directions, and clinging on to his polished persona at any cost. Instead of responding to the challenges of The Rock, he shrugged and complimented the Great One, when Piper attempted tough love, Cena shook his hand and didn’t rise to the violence-baiting. All he wants to do is RISE ABOVE THE HATE folks, what’s so bad about that!? I still expect him to snap and AA the Rock, like, ten times, but when he does so, will that be a heel turn, or will people, including The Rock, respect him more? If/when he can no longer rise above the hate, what will that mean for his character? It’s all fascinating, and it was all shown on Piper’s Pit.

The Miz def. John Morrison in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
I enjoyed the comic nature of Awesome Truth, but Miz especially did suffer from it. Remember the build-up to WrestleMania 27, when Miz was beating up John Cena every week and looking amazing? Well that obviously paid off more that it seemed as Miz is right back on the wagon with no transition from his rehearsed raps with a comically arachnophobic partner. The match started out explosively with the really quite shocking repeated-pipe-to-the-ankle attack from Miz to Morrison, and went on to tell a much more interesting story than people expected from Morrison’s last match with WWE (for now at least). As Miz practically ignored what he had done to Morrison, JoMo insisted on fighting, and actually had Miz on the back foot at one point. The story of this match was almost identical to Miz’s Championship-winning MITB cash-in (right down to the injured leg of the opponent), and like in that match, the sustained injury proved too much to overcome against a fresh Miz. Morrison went out explosively, being thrown in to the WWE sign on the stage befor taking a Skull-Crushing Finalé on the ramp, causing such injury to Morrison that the referee would rather stop the match then allow Miz to cover him – anice touch to get over the brutality of the finish. Miz standing over Morrison, and Johnny Ace coming out to visibly barely acknowledge him may have seemed like a burial, and perhaps it was (that’s just what happens when you leave a promotion), but nowhere near as bad as the reports that he was to job to Brodus Clay. I was never a big fan of Morrison (as regular readers will know), but I genuinely wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. As for Miz, he certainly seemed more dominant and intimidating, but I do worry that he’ll go down the psychopathic heel route that he can do well, but that many heels cand and do do well. His more pop-culture vulture, reality star gimmick is one that is rarer, and harder to do, so I hope that side of him doesn’t get lost as it did this week, even if I did really enjoy his work this week.

Kelly Kelly & Alicia Fox def. The Bella Twins
It’s pretty refreshing to see a match that doesn’t involve the Divas of Doom – not because I dislike them, but because they have been in pretty much every divas match on TV for months. They were involved, however, doing a literal, blasé run-in around the ring in full work-out gear before running back up the ramp and leaving. No one seems to understand why this happened. This isn’t necessarily a problem though, as long as it’s explained and perhaps points to a new character trait of the Divas of Doom. I also liked how the Bellas took exception to Kelly Kelly wanting to jiggler butt like the kinda gal that gets a kick out of being oggled on Maxim, and interrupted that little spot. Despite this, the faces went over in an otherwise uninspiringly short match consisting of uninspiring action, intended, i’m sure, just to get A. Fox continuing to look strong to justify a brief #1 contendership for her.

Dolph Ziggler def. Randy Orton
Before this dream match could take place, we were asked to ‘please acknowledge the presence of Wade Barrett’ – a simple line that only extends the renewed grandeur of the ‘Barrett Barrage’ and seemed to please everyone because it’s awesome. This stayed with Barrett when he was on commentary, getting the match and the feuds over better than either Cole or King. The match itself was really good, as you would expect from two of the best workers in existence (but perhaps not as good as previous encounters). Though it was fairly inevitable, the finish with Wade Barrett distracting Orton and allowing Ziggler to take advantage with a Zig Zag (man) for the win was simple and believable, doing something good for all involved. Ziggler gets to beat a future hall of famer/top guy and look great doing it, especially with the the celebratory headstand which is becoming a trademark of the ‘Show Off’. As for Barrett, he gets further in to Orton’s head, and closer to his level. Meanwhile, Orton doesn’t look any worse, and is really helping get younger stars over to have great matches with.

Daniel Bryan Answered the Criticisms of Michael Cole
Not actually too much to say about this. I was glad to see Bryan repeat his pretty valid reason for cashing in on Henry (that it was revenge for Henry’s attempts to injure him, and that he realised that the MITB contract is an opportunity more than a guarantee, and he saw an opportunity), but I was even more glad to see Bryan simply get some time on the stick. Ok, he’s not The Rock in terms of electrifying intensity, but neither should he be. Bryan has a confident, quiet, erudite charisma which I think comes over very well, and though its a slow-burner, I think if given the sustained time on the mic that seems to be coming to him now. When confronted by Henry and his awesome, threatening tone, Bryan made even better by confronting him; boldly just getting out of the ring and walking up to the World’s Strongest Champion. Taking exception to Henry’s claim that Bryan could never beat him, Bryan made a bold but simple statement by kicking Henry in his already injured leg to exemplify just how he could beat him. In many ways, that was more powerful than a normal beat-down or his false cash-in from last week.

Zack Ryder def. Jack Swagger
Not a bad match here, but also a bit of a waste as it should have been more explicitly linked to Ryder’s potential #1 Contendership to the US Championship (as it was in the deleted backstage pre-tape). It’s a shame that Swagger was the vehicle for such an empty bit of build though. Hopefully his fortunes will change going forward, while Ryder’s pursuit of a US Championship match gets hotter and more intense.

Mick Foley Hyped This Week’s LIVE Smackdown in Seasonal Fashion
Only the Micker could get away with this and it still be entertaining. His rhyme was certainly fun, as was his costume, and very Foley-esque; I do worry, however, that it is a sign that WWE aren’t quite sure yet what to do with Mick. Hell, i’m not sure what I want to see him do, though I do know that I want to see him – perhaps explaining this kind of appearance. I just wish he could get some kind of steady position – I certainly would have no problem with Commissioner Foley usurping Johnny Ace on RAW, perhaps in a match? Why not!? All that aside, the tightness of his rhymes really did effectively build hype for Super-Smackdown, the cage match, and no Cole!

CM Punk def. Alberto Del Rio to Retain the WWE Championship
Very much like the Ziggler-Orton match, this match featured two of the best workers today, and though it didn’t nearly live up to their Survivor Series match (come on guys, it had, like, half the time!), it was certainly enjoyable and technically impressive. It wasn’t however, as prestigious an event as the announcers suggested, though I do love how Punk treats the title, kissing it before handing it to referees before matches. That in itself is a good step towards making the championship more prestigious and interesting. The story of the match was similar to Survivor Series too, with Punk taking just about the majority of the violence, almost exclusively to his left arm, while showing great resilience in staying in the match and fighting back. There was also the stipulation that if Punk got intentionally DQ’d, he would lose the WWE Championship; and with some skullduggery, Alberto (and Ricardo Rodriguez) would try to trick Punk in to getting DQ’d, first of all tempting him with an exposed turnbuckle, and then attempting the Eddie Guerrero staged chairshot spot. Punk, a vocal fan of Guerrero, reversed this though, throwing the chair back to Del Rio and taking a bump (turnabout is fair play for a face!). Charles Robinson was about to DQ Del Rio, but Punk wanted a fairer victory and so rolled up Del Rio for a near fall. The Mexican heels tried again to take advantage of the referee and the stipulation though, and this time, Punk was merciless, getting himup in the GTS position, and dropping him, using the exposed turnbuckle instead of his knee to pick up the win. A nice win for Punk, though I am starting to worry his booking is going to close to the SuperCena ilk: getting beat up for most of match before a flurry. I like how Punk is being an infinitely more believable competitor than Cena, showing an impressive grittiness which makes him a much more interesting champion, but I think perhaps he went too far in that direction this week and perhaps looked a little weak, especially after winning with an (albeit kharmic) turnbuckle shot. As for Del Rio, the nature of his loss, and the nature of his relationship with Johnny Ace, means that a rematch at TLC is most likely, probably with the Miz to follow after he’s smashed a few more people’s heads in to the ramp.

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