by Amish Patel - November 01, 2011
The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 10/31/11 (The Muppets)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Happy Halloween. Live from Atlanta, Georgia this is the Raw Deal…
To start the show we got a promo from The Rock…via satellite. He was in an undisclosed location although I believe it was New Orleans because that’s where he has been filming his GI Joe movie that is close to being wrapped. He cut a promo saying that he won’t be John Cena’s partner due to Cena asking. He doesn’t like Cena. He doesn’t want to team with him. However, the people hate The Miz & R-Truth so much that he will say yes because THE PEOPLE (trademarked and copyrighted when Rock speaks) demanded it. They asked for it. Just to make it clear, he is accepting the match because the people wanted it, not Cena. By the way, did you notice the grey in the goatee of The Rock? He needs Just for Men beard coloring. The
The promo was fine. It didn’t wow me like his most recent online one where he really ripped into Cena. The tag line is “never before, never again” in terms of Cena & Rock tagging. Keep in mind they already heavily promoted them being in a team two months ago. It’s already been heavily advertised worldwide, especially in the New York City area. If you went to WWE.com you probably already saw the Survivor Series poster with Rock & Cena on it where it mentions them tagging. This was one of those announcements that wasn’t a big deal. The crowd didn’t go nuts for Rock. They did at the start, but then afterward they didn’t seem thrilled about staring up at the giant screen for seven minutes.
They mentioned Cena vs. Miz in a WrestleMania 27 re-match in the main event. Why don’t you advertise that beforehand? That should be a big deal. Right? It’s just like on Smackdown they had CM Punk and other Raw guys on the show, yet they didn’t announce it beforehand. What’s up with that? Also they mentioned WrestleMania tickets go on sale Saturday. Pre-sale code on Thursday. It’s my birthday Friday. Who is buying me tickets? Haha kidding. I will be at WrestleMania 28 though. Can’t wait. Hello Miami.
Mark Henry d. CM Punk via DQ (*)
The deal here was if Punk beat Henry he would have his WWE Title match against Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series. If anybody could get a good match out of Mark Henry it would be CM Punk. Nope. Didn’t happen. They only got about three minutes. I was wondering how they’d book this one. They went the cheap route. Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez came out. Ricardo attacked Henry. Ref didn’t seem to care. Then he kept at it and the ref DQ’d Punk because of the attack on Henry. Punk lost. He attacked Ricardo for a bit, and then he threw him back in the ring where Henry hit the World’s Strongest Slam on Ricardo because he was angry. Then Punk chased Del Rio away. The segment fell flat. I understand what they were trying to do. It felt like too much was going on at once, though. What’s the word for it? Oh right, it felt very “TNA-ish.” It was crash TV style booking. Somewhere in a dark place, Vince Russo is smiling.
They mentioned The Rock is on Raw in two weeks. It was a “Rock Reunion” in original advertising, but now it’s called “Raw Gets Rocked.” It’s November 14 in Boston, a 3 hour Raw.
Cue the Muppets. We were introduced to Kermit The Frog & Miss Piggy. Am I really a grown man reviewing this right now? I feel 10. Anyway, they were behind a stage setting so they were elevated and you couldn’t see the puppeteers. They got interrupted by Vickie & Jack Swagger. They yelled at them about taking their time on Raw so Kermit apologized to Jack and “his mother.” That was funny. Santino came out. He said “John Laryngitis” told him he has a match against Swagger later. Jack said fine because he would have Dolph Ziggler to help him, but Santino told him that Dolph was facing Zack Ryder. Then Kermit & Piggy said “woo woo woo you know it.” Yes that really happened. Cue Kelly Kelly, who came out dressed like Puss N Boots (I think) and she kissed Kermit on the lips. At least they are keeping her gimmick alive as being the easy one. Wait, is that not a gimmick? Never mind.
Eve won a Divas Battle Royal to be #1 Contender (*)
They were all dressed in costumes. Do I need to summarize what they were all dressed as? No. The WWE.com folks have got you covered if you care. Beth was on commentary dressed as a queen. Loved her line to Lawler about there finally being royalty at the announce table. They booked it so the final four was heel Natalya against three faces in Kelly, Eve & Alicia (yep she’s a face). She managed to get rid of Alicia & Kelly in impressive fashion, but Eve shoved her out to win. Somewhere, Gail Kim is furious that nobody eliminated themselves. I guess this means another Beth vs. Eve match. How many matches has Natalya won since turning heel? Not many especially in singles. Her role is to lose to people before they face Beth. I’m looking forward to those Natalya vs. Beth matches when they likely feud next year. Post match, Beth & Natalya went to attack, but then Eve, Kelly & Alicia stood side by side. The two talented, stronger girls are scared of the three skinny models I guess.
Backstage, Professor Bunsen gave a concoction to Beaker to give to Santino. Beaker left the room, he ran into Christian. He stole the drink and dumped it. Sheamus came up to Christian, who bailed. Cue the Sheamus-Beaker meeting. They had Sheamus play with his reddish orange hair and make a joke about them being related. I know far too many people that marked out hard at the Sheamus-Beaker thing. It was funny I guess, but I’m not as hardcore about the Muppets as some people I know.
Cody Rhodes & Wade Barrett d. Air Boom (*3/4)
They got about six minutes with no commercial. Typical Air Boom match with Kingston getting worked on, Bourne got the hot tag, but Barrett ended up catching him and hitting the Wasteland to get the pin. When I saw the finish I was shocked until I realized it was a non-title match, which means the champs are going to lose. I was just shocked that Air Boom would lose again after losing on Smackdown to Miz & Truth as well. It did a nice job of putting over Barrett, though, which was the point of the match. They are trying to build him back up. I think it’s a good idea because he’s a great talent.
After the match, Christian came out to join the heels in an attack on the champs. Sheamus made the save, taking care of everybody and knocking out Cody with the Brogue Kick. Since Sheamus vs. Christian appears to be over since Sheamus has beat him every time, perhaps Sheamus vs. Rhodes is next as a future feud. I think it would be a good idea to stick a bunch of upper midcarders together for a 5 on 5 elimination tag at Survivor Series. It could be a great match to open the PPV. After all of this was over, the old muppets Statler & Waldorf were up in the cheap seats talking about the show, but they couldn’t hear eachother so they did the Stone Cold “WHAT?” routine for bad comedy.
Regarding the Air Boom team, it was reported on WWE.com this morning that Evan Bourne failed a WWE Wellness Test and has been suspended for 30 days according to the Wellness Policy. I’m not sure what he took. I’m not here to speculate. I’d assume this means they take the titles off Air Boom since we won’t see Bourne for a month. They will likely say he suffered an injury and either make Kofi defend in a handicap match or give him a temporary partner like Zack Ryder, for example. I’d do the temporary partner thing, then move the belts onto the Swagger & Ziggler duo because it would give them some more credibility. Then in a few months when Bourne is back in action you can move the titles back. Other options are Rhodes/Barrett and Miz/Truth too, but I’d pick Swagger & Ziggler to become the new tag team champs.
I guess the bigger question is: Can Hunico become the fake Evan Bourne now or is he limited to only being the fake Sin Cara? That man has got skills! In all seriousness, I like Bourne a lot. Hopefully this is just a simple mistake and not some kind of issue. It’s interesting to note that WWE suspended nobody in 2009 and 2010. Nobody got suspended in 2011 until a few guys over the past couple of months. They have “selective suspension” rules I guess. I’d love to see a stockholder ask Vince McMahon about that at one of his quarterly addresses.
Backstage, Punk went to complain to Laurinaitis about what happened earlier. JL told him that if he wanted his match with Del Rio he would have to get Del Rio to agree to it. Punk said that seemed fair. You could almost see the lightbulb pop up above his head.
Big Show vs. Del Rio is at the top of hour two. No hype, no build. The WWE Champ in action vs. a guy that almost won the World Title a couple of weeks ago. They can promote the hell out of the Muppets as well as a Michael Cole Challenge, though.
They aired a video package about Brodus Clay. He’ll be on Raw destroying people next week. John Morrison, are you ready? I guess we don’t know if he’s a Raw or Smackdown guy either. He was a Smackdown guy. It doesn’t matter.
Big Show d. Alberto Del Rio (*1/2)
The ring intro for ADR was done by Justin Roberts since Rodriguez was taken out by Henry earlier. This was a slow and boring match that the crowd didn’t care about too much. I was thinking the logical booking here would be to go about 6 or 7 minutes with a double countout ending or something like that. Instead, they went 13 minutes (with a commercial break), which boggles my mind. Of all the people to give a long TV match to they give it to Big Show? Weird. They had about 9 minutes of back and forth action before going to break. Like I said, I expected it to be short, so it was weird to see it go that long. They came back, Del Rio was mostly in control and hit a nice DDT. I’m surprised the announcers didn’t go on and on about how hard it would be to put Show in the Cross Armbreaker. The finish came when ADR went for a cover, Show pushed him off, they got back up, Del Rio charged and Show KNOCKED HIM THE FUCK OUT~! with the big right hand…or the Weapon of Mass Destruction if you want to call it that. The punch didn’t look that great. It almost looked like a slap. Timing was off, I guess. Anyway, Show covered for the easy pinfall win at 14 minutes over the WWE Champion in this non-title match.
The question I will ask while nobody in WWE asks is: If Big Show can beat WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio clean and Big Show is technically a Raw superstar then why doesn’t he get the WWE Title shot against Del Rio? Because they don’t think about these things or they assume we are idiots. It’s the latter, I think. Show will get the World Title shot at Mark Henry again. This was done to make him look good. It makes Del Rio looks like crap, but that’s not new. In WWE they’d rather put over veteran babyfaces then rising, younger heels. You figure it out.
After the match, CM Punk came out. He got on the microphone, sat down beside a still knocked out ADR and told him he was going to put him in the painful Anaconda Vince submission hold. He wanted ADR to say yes to their title match. He put him in the hold, ADR was in pain, he agreed to the match and it became official: Del Rio vs. Punk for the WWE Title at Survivor Series. Then Punk did it again just for fun. The live crowd didn’t hear ADR say yes, but we saw it on camera. It was a bit anticlimactic.
Backstage, Gonzo & Fozzie Bear were chatting about how easy it would be to a be a WWE Champion. Can you blame them? All we ever see are short title reigns and champs losing non-title matches. Anyway, another appearance by Vickie & Swagger, this time with Ziggler. Jack tied Gonzo’s arms around his head. Then they walked away. Funny? Not really. At least they didn’t air one of those “Be A Star” anti-bullying campaigns after it was over. They told the Muppets to stay out of their business. They needed some evil foreshadowing music right there.
The next live edition of The John Report Radio will be this Wednesday November 2nd live at 10pmET/9pmCT for two hours. All the info is RIGHT HERE. Call in at (917) 388-4635 or use Skype to talk to myself and my regular cohorts The Ace & Frank The Clown. We’ll be taking calls the whole show as well as questions via Twitter & Facebook, so think of some good stuff to ask us. I’ll post the link to the show after it’s over up on TJR on Wednesday morning in case you can’t join us live.
Santino d. Jack Swagger (1/2*)
Here’s your vintage guest star assisted comedy win. Swagger was in control, but Beaker made his way to ringside (from under the ring), gave Santino a shot of his magic drink, then Santino accidentally spit it in Swagger’s face and then Santino rolled him up to win. It was a rushed two minute match that was a waste of time. I wish Swagger was booked better. That’s not really new, though.
Zack Ryder d. Dolph Ziggler (**1/4)
It feels like we’ve seen this before. Non-title match between these two. Can champions go 0 for 3 in non-title matches on this show? Yes they can. Ziggler got knocked to the floor, they went to commercial as usual with Vickie screaming. She was on this show a lot huh? Back from break, it was a close match with Vickie attempting to interfere by grabbing Ryder’s leg. Ziggler went for the Zig Zag, Ryder held onto to top rope, Ziggler stumbled back and Ryder hit an impressive looking Rough Ryder flying leg lariat for the win. Vickie started screaming. It seems like every other week the duo of Ziggler & Swagger loses, and then they get their heat back on Smackdown or the week after. It’s why nobody gets over huge. The constant change is annoying. I’m assuming this leads to some kind of Ryder vs. Ziggler match for the US Title again although we just saw it at Vengeance. They didn’t announce anything, so let’s just assume for now.
They showed the footage of the heartbroken Triple H getting attacked by Kevin Nash last week. They said he’d be out six weeks, but it’s Hunter so I’d guess he’s on next week. They also announced that Laurinaitis also signed Nash per Hunter’s request last week. We’ll see Kevin Nash on Raw next week. Apparently working on Raw this week would have been too much for Nash.
They went to Cole at ringside to explain that the Michael Cole Challenge is off. Yes, the same one they wasted time advertising last week on Raw & Smackdown. Why? Because JR had stomach problems. In other words, they didn’t have time for it on the show. When you don’t have time for something on the show the best thing to do is to make ass and shit jokes. It reminds me of the Simpsons bowling episode where Homer asks: “Are Poo & Ass taken?” They were. I bet Vince McMahon uses those names for bowling too. What a mature 66 year old man he is. I guess the Michael Cole challenge is next week. Hooray. That’s sarcasm. The Statler & Waldorf pair hated Cole too. I wish they were on commentary the whole show.
More backstage “comedy” with the Muppets. Miss Piggy flirted with Morrison, who then left. I think he was shocked to be on Raw without losing a match! Hornswoggle showed up, showed Piggy his Muppets tattoo on his leg, then forced a kiss on her and she chopped him in the nuts. Oh the hilarity. Kermit checked on poor Horny, then remarked that he thought his show was weird. Then Cody showed up to put a small brown paper bag on Kermit. That was one of the highlights of the show to me. Well played. Not that I hate the Muppets. I just thought it was funny.
John Cena d. The Miz (**1/2)
Cena did his “I’m here every week” line to the camera once he walked onto the stage. Yeah Rock, how dare you make $10 million plus for a movie when you can travel for 250 days a year like you did a decade ago? Anyway, last week Cena faced Miz & Truth in a handicap match. He nearly won on his own. This time he faced Miz one on one. Did anybody think Miz was winning? No. They did some nice wrestling here, though. I liked a lot of the spots they did. Since they worked together for a few months earlier in the year on house shows they built up some nice chemistry. Near they end they fought on the floor, a “fan” in a mask attacked Cena. He fended him off while security stood there doing nothing. Gee, I wonder who that is under the mask. They went back in the ring, Cena put him in the STF and Miz tapped clean after 9 minutes. I had somebody on my Facebook wall say that they thought this was WWE’s TV match of the year. No. It was a solid 9 minute match, but it was not that good. There were matches better on this past week’s Smackdown alone: Orton/Ziggler & Punk/Christian.
After the match, the masked dude tried to attack Cena. Super Cena easily fought him off and gave him the Attitude Adjustment. He took the mask off to reveal R-Truth. I think Jerry Lawler was the only one shocked by it. Then Lawler screamed excitedly when Cena put the masked on because Lawler is booked to react like a 12 year old girl. Everybody has a price. The show ended like that with Super Cena celebrating.
My reaction was huh? Cena beat Miz on his own and then he took care of R-Truth very easily. Then it dawned on me. The main event of Survivor Series isn’t about who wins between The Rock & John Cena vs. The Miz & R-Truth. The main event is can Cena & Rock get along? Will Cena & Rock get in some kind of fight during or after the match? Is there a chance that Cena could turn heel on Rock? That’s the selling point of the PPV. We know they’re going to win the match in all likelihood. The question is will anything else happen? I’m predicting a babyface finish at Survivor Series. Then a brawl? Maybe, but I think a handshake is more likely. That would kill momentum. I hope I’m wrong about the handshake part.
By the way, I will already predict that next week’s Raw will end with Cena getting beat down as the announcers wonder if the Rock will help him the following week on Raw (November 14) when he’s in the building. It’s the every other week booking. Last week Cena got beat up, this week he was triumphant, next week he will get beat up again and the week after that Rock will be there.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Alberto Del Rio – Sold his ass off all night. Wish he was booked better.
2. Kermit – He sold some of those beatings like a champ!
3. Miss Piggy – If you hit Hornswoggle you make it here. Unofficial rule.
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 3.5 (October 10)
2011 Average: 5.68
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 6, 3.5, 6.5, 6
Last week’s show got a 4.5, this week’s show gets a 5.5. It was slightly better with some pretty good in ring action and some high profile matches, but nothing seems special anymore in terms of matches. They gave away the WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. a top World Title contender in Big Show and the champ lost clean. They gave the World Champion Mark Henry vs. a top WWE Title contender in CM Punk and booked a cheap finish. They did a WrestleMania main event finish with Cena beating Miz clean. Three huge matches. Only one of them (Punk/Henry) was promoted prior to the show. Why should people pay $45+ for PPVs when they get such big matches for free? Not only that, but they spent time on last week’s Raw, Friday’s Smackdown & this week’s Raw to promote the “Michael Cole Challenge” that is happening next week apparently. Big matches should be a priority, not ass jokes.
Is there no long term planning? Obviously there is not enough. It feels like the only thing that they have a plan for is the Rock/Cena match at Survivor Series & WrestleMania. Everything else feels like constant change with logic holes, erratic booking and nobody getting over. It’s frustrating to watch.
I thought the Muppets were fine. I don’t think I’ve seen anything Muppets related in about 15 years. I’m nearly 31 years old, so it’s not something that is catering to me. They were funny in some instances. They’ve certainly done worse with some of the guest stars they’ve had in the past. It was passable. Did the adult Muppet marks like it? It seems like it. Happy for them. I’m sure my 10 year old niece thought Miss Piggy was cute, so that’s what matters to me.
One other thing. Anybody else see the random shot to a hot girl in the crowd at the wrong time during the Show/Del Rio match? Oops by the director there. Not that I am complaining. I just think it’s hilarious how they have cameras positioned on hot girls just in case they need to go to it.
That’s all for this week. We’ve got TJR Radio on Wednesday, my 31st birthday on Friday and then something for Canton’s Corner on Saturday. I’ll likely write that column earlier in the week due to birthday festivities. Thanks for this great episode of Raw for my bday week, Vince. Does he send people birthday cards with a giant ass on them? I wouldn’t be surprised.
Thanks for reading.
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.
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