by Joe Thunder - February 13, 2012
Hard to believe that it was a year ago this Raw that The Rock made his big return to WWE. Funny how that turned out now that we’ve seen him what, five times since then?
Raw opens with Kane’s face on the camera. Kane says there is no line that he will not cross to get Cena to embrace the hate. He says someone is going to take a ride in an ambulance tonight and that John Cena will embrace the hate.
^Creepy Kane and his scary words. I love(sarcastically) how this Cena/Kane rivalry is once again taking priority over everything else. It’s only because of Cena and the Rock upcoming at Mania.
Jerry Lawler welcomes us to our first ever Elimination Chamber match debate with all of the Raw participants in the Elimination Chamber match this Sunday. This looks more like a press conference to me. Lawler asks Punk what makes him think he will walk out of the Chamber as champion. John Laurinaitis interrupts with David Otunga at his side. Yes, JL is still the interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw. JL and Otunga go to the back. Punk promises that this debate will not end in violence. Punk congratulate and insults JL at the same time for keeping his job as interim GM. Punk says he is the best wrestler in the world and that is why he is going to win on Sunday. Camera flashes to Jericho. Ziggler is asked for his rebuttal. Vicky speaks first on his behalf asking for no boos. Ziggler says he is better than everyone in the ring, including the audience. Ziggler says Truth doesn’t know what state we’re in. Truth says if he is elected he is going to trade Vicky Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown for Hornswoggle and a box of spiders. Ziggler goes to insult Truth. King tells Truth to go on. Truth says if he is elected he is going to make it required to shout WHAT in every line of the pledge of allegiance. Truth says back to the box of spiders. He says he will stomp on them and put them in a blender. He says he will make his grandma’s favorite, spider stew, which is high in protein and low in carbs. He says little jimmy will watch him gulp down the spider stew and become the WWE Champion in the Elimination Chamber.
^Truth is absolute magic on the mic, despite the insanity of what he just said.
Miz speaks next and points out that he retained his WWE Title twice at WrestleMania 27. Miz points out that Kofi is an afterthought, Punk is 0-2 in the chamber, R Truth should be replaced by little jimmy, and points out that the first time Ziggler has ever scored was with an old woman. Miz goes to Jericho next but the buzzer goes off. Miz continues to insult Jericho through many buzzers. Kofi speaks next and says he has been overlooked for far too long. Kofi says everything can change in just one night as he might walk out as the next WWE Champion. Jericho insults the crowd and says he is the true best in the world at everything he does. He says there isn’t a human being that’s been in more chamber matches than him, or eliminated more superstars than him. Jericho points out that he won the last chamber match he was in for the World Heavyweight Championship. Jericho says Punk might as well hand him the title right now. Punk asks if Jericho was talking him because he wasn’t listening. Ziggler says this debate is a joke and the audience is a joke. Truth says he will not be talked to by a man named after Flipper. Kofi and Jericho is apparently the first match booked on the card. Jericho walks up to Punk but Punk just holds the title above his head. Kofi hits trouble in paradise on Jericho.
^This debate showed several things. There’s a lot of mic talent on the WWE roster. There’s also a huge difference between Punk and Jericho on the mic as compared to everybody else in the ring with them. Jericho is right about having accomplished more than all the Superstars in the ring with him. It’s like putting Cena in the ring with all of the nexus back in 2010 and comparing accomplishments. Good for Jericho. Even as a heel, I like his argument and where he’s coming from. I like the buildup for the match this Sunday, since they only gave the chamber three weeks worth of formation time after the Royal Rumble.
Jericho and Kofi wrestle the first match of the night. Solid back and forth action that includes Kofi hitting a big dive onto Jericho on the outside. Jericho ends up catching Kofi and locking on the walls of Jericho. Kofi is able to get to the rope and fight his way out of the submission. Kofi hits trouble in paradise on Jericho and gets a two count before Jericho gets his foot on the rope. Kofi goes to grab Jericho but Jericho hits a thumb to the eye on Kofi and hits the codebreaker for the three count victory.
^Decent match. No complaints from this guy. Jericho showed why he is still one the all time greats. On the flipside, it’s great to see Kofi working these matches with top guys like Jericho.
Backstage segment: John Cena is shown with Zack Ryder. Cena points out that Ryder has gotten hurt every time he is at Raw. Ryder wants to be here for Valentine’s day to see Eve. Cena tells Ryder to wait in his locker room and he will bring Eve to him. John Laurinaitis is then shown talking to David Otunga. Otunga points out that JL is not the permanent GM of Raw yet, but has an idea to make him the permanent GM of both shows as well.
^Anybody want to bet that Ryder will leave in an ambulance again tonight? JL won’t become GM of both shows, but WWE insists on leading us into storylines that will never come up again.
Daniel Bryan is out to the ring next to do commentary for Orton and Big Show’s match. Orton and Show go back and forth and work their way to the ringside area before Show tosses Orton back in the ring. Show goes up to Bryan but Bryan just sits and stares. Orton hits another dropkick and sets up Show for his DDT with his feet off the top rope. Cole calls it extra vintage. Orton is calling for the RKO. Orton botches an RKO and show falls to the mat. Orton hits another RKO but Bryan comes in and hits Orton with his title belt. Winner by DQ, Randy Orton. Bryan lays out the Big Show with the belt also.
^Once again, a good match gets a rough ending. I understand the creative booking process and not having a clear cut winner, but you know Orton had the victory in this matchup. Good to see Bryan build more heat on himself as we head towards the Chamber this Sunday. Big Show continues to work some of his best matches ever as we get closer to the end of his career, which surprises me some.
Out next is Shawn Michaels. Cole calls him the greatest in ring performer of all time. It’s hard to argue that. I’m willing to bet that the hat is holding up a nice hair piece under there. Shawn says he’s nervous. Ha. Shawn talks about a guy on twitter asking why he comes around this time of year. Shawn says because it’s WrestleMania season and you can’t have that without Shawn Michaels. Shawn said he was waiting for Triple H to accept the Undertaker’s challenge last week. HBK says he was shocked when he heard that Triple H said no to the dead man’s challenge. Shawn says Triple H is just playing the Undertaker and he wants him out here to tell the world that he is accepting the dead man’s challenge at WrestleMania. Triple H comes down to the ring. DX chant from the crowd. Hunter says he understands that it’s hard to tear himself away from Texas, but he says it’s nice to see Shawn once a year around WrestleMania. Hunter says he wants to see him a whole lot more though. Shawn says he wants to hear the news that Hunter will face the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Hunter reiterates what he said last week and says he won’t face him at WM. Trips says he would have to end the Undertaker to beat him and he isn’t that guy anymore. Shawn tells him that’s exactly who is and that’s what he does. He finishes people, ends careers, steps on throats, has no mercy and no compassion. Shawn asks if the suit is all the Triple H is now. Shawn said he stood by Hunter through everything. Shawn asks Hunter if he is now a sellout since he married Vince’s daughter. Hunter said it’s investing in the future and Shawn wouldn’t understand. Shawn says he is simple and may not understand, but he does know that when you back down from a challenge from a man, it makes you a coward. Hunter goes to walk away and Shawn stops him. Shawn says at the end of the day a cowards is still a coward, no matter how you dress it up. They stare each other down. Hunter goes to leave. Hunter gets back in the ring and tells Shawn he can’t understand what’s going on here. Hunter says he has responsibilities and that all of the company is going to be his. He says the responsibility weighs like a ton on his shoulders. He talks about the Undertaker being an opponent for years but that he is now a brand that is good for business. He says he can’t let it end because that would be bad for business. Hunter says he is not going to be the one that will end the era, because the Undertaker is all that is left. Hunter goes to walk away but Shawn pulls him back. Shawn says that was an awesome speech and that it works on a lot of people. Shawn says he is at peace, but that Hunter has no peace. Shawn wants Hunter to tell him that he doesn’t want to end the streak. Hunter goes to leave again but Shawn stops him. Hunter pulls off his jacket, stares Shawn in the face, and says no. Shawn walks away from the ring.
^These two just reminded me of how much wrestling has changed in the last decade. These guys still deliver some of the best and most intense promos that you’ll ever have the chance to watch.
Hunter goes to leave the ring but the Undertaker’s music goes off. A video package is shown on the big screen. The Undertaker says in the video that this is not over. Undertaker says he will get what he wants. It shows the Undertaker cutting his hair and asking for what is his: immortality. Commercial break.
^Well, you already know the match is going to happen between Hunter and Taker. Will Shawn Michaels end up as guest ref? I hope not. Part 3 will certainly be something to watch. I like the incorporation of Taker cutting his hair to make the excuse for him shaving his head last summer.
The next match is R Truth taking on Dolph Ziggler. This is a short one that ends with Truth getting inside cradle three count victory when Ziggler is caught doing situps by Truth. Ziggler is irate after the match.
^This match felt ridiculously rushed and could’ve gone for longer. Something tells me the show is running low on time. Hopefully we get to see more of these two going one on one in the future.
Backstage segment: Santino is shown backstage talking to Zack Ryder. Santino offers advice to Ryder regarding Eve. Santino offers Ryder a Santino breath strip. Ryder says it’s disgusting. Santino takes one and calls it garlic flavored. That was disgusting and somewhat pointless. The look on Ryder’s face was fairly funny though.
Beth Phoenix is on commentary for Tamina and Brie Bella. Tamina beats down Brie in a very fast match. Beth says Tamina is no glamazon despite having her father’s dominance in her family line. Tamina knocks Nikki Bella off the apron and then hits the superfly splash on Brie for the three count. Beth stands up and stares at Tamina after the match.
^Really? These two are going to be booked for the Elimination Chamber? That could’ve been a HUGE WrestleMania Divas Championship match. Oh well; maybe these two will be given a decent amount of time to give us a good showing on Sunday.
Cena is interviewed by Josh Mathews. Mathews asks Cena’s reaction in regards to the Rock. We hear noise. Cena runs and Kane is shutting the ambulance doors. Cena attacks Kane and tells Eve to unlock the door. Kane knocks Cena down and drives off in the ambulance as Eve jumps out the back into Cena’s arms. Eve kisses Cena. Insert Booker T line here. Zack Ryder is shown sitting there watching them. Commercial break.
^First of all, I was okay with the love twist for Ryder to have a girlfriend. But this is just stupid. Really? Guess this just adds fuel to the fire for that Cena/Ryder feud that everyone has been calling for down the road. What does any of this have to do with Cena embracing hate I wonder?
Ryder is wheeling away after the commercial break and Eve runs up to him and says it was just the heat of the moment. She tells Ryder she’s sorry for what happened but that she really cares about Ryder and just wants to be his friend. Ryder wheels himself off.
^Ryder will probably try to cost Cena the match this Sunday. Just my theory, however.
CM Punk and the Miz are up next for our main event. What do you want to bet that Jericho gets involved either during or after this match? Punk starts selling a possible injury to his left hand. Perhaps something to foreshadow Punk losing the match on Sunday due to an injured hand? The Miz mounts a big offense after he counters a GTS from Punk. Punk hits a scoop slam for a two count when Miz charges at him. Punk goes to climb up for an elbow drop but shakes his hand as he climbs the rope like he’s in pain. Miz goes up for a suplex but gets knocked off the ropes by Punk. Punk gets up top and is able to hit the flying elbow. Punk calls for the GTS but Miz counters and then Punk counters into the anaconda vice for the victory. Jericho is shown watching Punk on a backstage screen.
^Ziggler/Truth deserved the sort of time Miz and Punk just had. This was a really good match from Punk and Miz and it leaves me as a fan wanting more.
Kane backs up the ambulance into the arena as we go to a commercial break. Cena comes to the ring after the commercial despite knowing that he’ll be running to the back before this segment is over. Cena says that it was an awkward moment by the ambulance. He said he tried to apologize to Ryder and does so again. He says this was Kane’s plan all along to turn his friends and the WWE Universe against him. He says Kane wanted him to have no other choice but to embrace this hate. Cena says he isn’t just anybody else that will reach a breaking point and snap. The crowd chants we don’t like you. Cena says it’s been like six years since that started. He says he is proud to be who he is and do what he does. Cena says rising above the hate doesn’t make him soft. Cena says he will adapt, overcome, and he will win. He says Kane will leave the arena in an ambulance this Sunday. Cena says he has a message for Dwayne about Mania but Zack Ryder wheels himself out to the arena. Ryder gets on his crutches and comes down the ramp. Ryder knocks the microphone out of Cena’s hand. Ryder slaps Cena across the face. Cena pulls off his dog tags and takes off his shirt. Ryder yells in Cena’s face. Ryder goes to hit Cena but Cena stops him and Ryder stumbles backwards and falls down. Ryder is embarrassed and doesn’t want help. Kane is up on the big screen and tells Cena he’s in denial. He tells Cena he’s sunk to a new low by stealing his friend’s girl. Kane tells Cena he feeds on hate and he will not be in a ring until WrestleMania after this Sunday. Kane comes out and pushes Zack Ryder off the ramp in his wheelchair. Cena rushes to help him. Eve comes out and looks on.
^Ryder sure does a lot for a guy with a broken back. Quite impressive. Kane/Cena will probably be a long drawn out brawl this Sunday. I wonder what WWE will do with Kane’s creepy character after this Sunday. As long as they don’t put the wedding of Eve and John Cena and/or Zack Ryder on tv with Kane as the minister, I won’t complain.
It might have felt a little packed, but overall I’d say we saw a great Monday Night Raw loaded with a variety of things happening. We saw some great promos, some good matches, and very little John Laurinaitis! The Cena/Ryder thing is ridiculous but I’ll overlook it for the potential of some good matches to come from the rivalry. Raw was a good buildup for the show this Sunday and was also a good buildup for the Undertaker/HHH match at WM 28. I’m excited for the Chamber this Sunday! Predictions will be out sometime this week along with my Smackdown column early Saturday. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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