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WWE RAW 12.3.2012 from Greensboro, NC || TV Review
Non-title: Team Hell No v. The Prime Time Players
Kane and Bryan actually come out together! The Shield are watching from the top of the lower level in the crowd. Kane calls them out but they don't move. The match begins with Kane in control and Bryan hesitates to make a tag so he can point out that Reigns and Rollins have disappeared. The champs work together for a bit until Reigns shows up on the arena steps. Rollins in nowhere to be seen, and now Ambrose is creeping toward the ring as well. The crowd is hot tonight and The Shield guys lurking in the crowd is adding to it to make a good atmosphere to start the show. Bryan ends up reversing a rollup to pin Darren Young. Reigns and Ambrose ambush Kane as soon as the bell rings and just as Bryan starts over to save him Rollins shows up. Bryan takes the three-man powerbomb. Not much happened in the match but it was good. Hell No def. PTP, roll-up - 12 min - **1/4
- Sheamus and Cena talk in the back about stuff. Sheamus' new shirt is awesome.
Tamina Snuka v. AJ Lee
Tamina doesn't get an entrance. AJ does the RVD hop to the top rope with ease but gets pulled down awkwardly by Tamina. Snuka gets an Argentine backbreaker and then cuts off AJ's attempted comeback. Tamina takes her time getting ready for the Superfly Splash and it allows AJ to roll her up out of nowhere. Match gets an extra half star for how freakin' good AJ looked while bumping around. AJ def. Tamina, schoolgirl - 4 min, *1/2
- CM Punk and Paul Heyman make their entrance before the commercial. When we return, Punk and Heyman continue with the same old shit. They spent more than 5 minutes talking about how Punk has been champ for a while and gets no respect before starting to get to the point. The Miz interrupts and I'm interested. Should have happened 5 minutes earlier. He tells Punk that he does indeed take shortcuts and then invites him to come to MizTV for a lie detector test. Interesting. Miz calls Heyman a walrus and the crowd chants it. Gotta be honest, I think Miz can hold his own on the mic against Punk if they let them both just go off the cuff. Punk agrees to the lie detector for later tonight.
John Cena & Sheamus v. Big Show & Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler with the dropkick to Sheamus' stomach! Cena gets crushed trying to slam Show and Ziggler tags in to get his rapid fire elbow drops. The crowd actually counts along. Sheamus gets the hot tag and knocks the crap out of Big Show, but he takes a huge shoulder block coming off the top and it knocks him into a commercial. He's bleeding from over his nose when we come back and Ziggler redeems himself with a sweet dropkick but ends up taking the Irish Curse backbreaker. Cena gets the tag which leads to him hitting the AA on Ziggler in sync with Sheamus nailing White Noise on Show. That continues to be impressive as hell. Cena & Sheamus def. Show & Ziggler, Attitude Adjustment - 10 min, **1/4
- Damien Sandow wants an apprentice, so he calls a bad actor from the crowd. Ignorance is curable, but stupid is forever. The dude gets two easy questions right and misses a Keats poetry reference so Sandow figures he might as well just be exiled from the country. Santino goes all Booker T and "axes" Sandow a question about seashells. This leads to a really awkward spot for a commercial break and a match, which we join in progress.
Damien Sandow v. Santino Marella
Santino powerwalks off an Irish whip and Sandow has no idea what to do about it. Santino gets two off a jacknife pin. He gets a rollup for 2 after the ELBOW OF DISDAIN and goes for the Cobra. Sandow runs away and ends up stealing the Cobra. Santino misses the top rope saluting headbutt and takes the Terminus neckbreaker. Sandow def. Santino, Terminus - 3 min, 1/2*
- Ziggler asks Vickie for a rematch with Cena for TLC. Vickie says yes, so I guess it's on. He goes for a hug but she steps away. Brad Maddox is in her office and all I can think of is how much he looks like Garrett Bichoff. Brad's got a match tonight.
Sin Cara v. Alberto Del Rio
Hey, no stupid lights! Sin Cara flips around for a while and then hits some insanely weak kicks. Del Rio gives him some real ones to show him how it's done. Sin Cara redeems himself with a couple nice kicks and then dives off the apron with a SWEET headscissors takedown that flips ADR over into the barricade. That looked painful. Sin Cara gets a nice frankensteiner after the commercial break that sends Del Rip back outside. He gets cut off going for a springboard, though, and Del Rio throws him ass over teakettle into the barricade as a receipt. That gets two inside the ring. A sweet bridging German suplex gets another two count but he misses a charge in the corner and gets hit with a tornado DDT out of the corner from Sin Cara. I believe this is Sin Cara's longest one-on-one match on TV thus far. He nearly screws up the handspring elbow but rights himself and gets a VERY close two off a flying crossbody from the top. Crowd bought that one. He hits the standing sliced bread but misses the swanton. That allows ADR to put him in the cross armbreaker for the submission. Easily Sin Cara's best match in WWE. Del Rio def. Sin Cara, cross armbreaker - 12 min, ***
- Vince McMahon is here and he wants some schlub to tell Vickie Guerrero to get out to the ring. Uh-oh.
- Vince wants Vickie to make the Cena/Ziggler match a ladder match for DZ's MITB briefcase. Vickie says she's worried about people thinking that match would be "unfair" to Ziggler. I wish that was foreshadowing for The Shield to run in and cost Cena the match, but it won't be. So Vickie makes the match and then tries to dismiss Vince. That goes about as well as you think. Holy cow this is SO BAD. Vince leading Vickie into making decisions has been done twice now (maybe three times?) and it's supposed to be (I think?) funny (I guess?). Terrible segment.
Brad Maddox v. Randy Orton
If Maddox wins he gets a contract. Maddox runs but gets caught so he throws a completely ineffective elbow. Orton clotheslines him on the outside and brings him back in for the hanging DDT. Why doesn't that have a name? Orton hits the RKO and that's it. Okay then. HERE'S THE SHIELD! I thought they would have interfered during the match to give Maddox a contract. Guess not. Orton def. Maddox, RKO - 1 min, NR
- Vickie's yelling at Charles Robinson about something and it seems to slip that she was involved with The Shield. I think. Ziggler interrupts and is pissed that he has to defend his contract at TLC. Heyman comes in and stares at Vickie. The masochistic part of me was hoping they'd end up kissing. Now Cena's here, and he's all smiles as always. He makes fun of his 5 moves of doom. Cutting edge stuff right there. Vickie tries to scare Cena about AJ being crazy. Who gives a fuck? Cena pretty much says the same thing. Vickie says "if you can't learn from your past, history keeps repeating itself". I feel like I must channel Scott Keith here: I love shoot comments that aren't supposed to be shoot comments.
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Antonio Cesaro & Wade Barrett
But wait... Teddy Long is here. To... stop a tag team match? MY WORLD NO LONGER MAKES ANY SENSE! What the fuck? RAWActive vote! Fatal fourway for the IC or US Title!
US Title: Antonio Cesaro v. Kofi Kingston v. Wade Barrett v. R-Truth
Cesaro's face when the poll result is revealed is classic. I smell meme! Kofi goes for a quick rollup to become double champion while Barrett and Truth fight on the outside. Barrett and Cesaro both end up on the outside and Truth squares off with Kofi! The heels don't actually break it up and the former tag partners do a slow-paced indy standoff spot. Kofi dives out onto Barrett but Cesaro dodges a dive from Truth and runs him into the barricade. Then Kofi tries to dive on him, but Cesaro has eyes in the back of his head. He KILLS Kofi with a huge European uppercut. He hits him so hard that suddenly I'm watching a Dominos Pizza commercial. Cesaro is still in control after the break and gets a one-legged big swing on Kofi into a half Boston Crab. Truth breaks it up and dances only to have Barret low-bridge him. Cesaro and Barrett square off! Kofi flies in out of nowhere with the crossbody but Barrett breaks up the pin! Barrett gets the Bossman slam but Truth breaks the pin! Axe kick gets two for Truth! Mule kick gets Barrett back in control but he gets tossed off the top rope by Truth. Cesaro takes over but gets armdragged off by Kofi. Barrett is back and it's the TOWER OF DOOM with Kofi powerbombing Barrett while he superplexes Truth. Cesaro BARELY breaks up the pin and the crowd is loving it. Kofi gets the Boom Drop on Barrett but AC pulls him out of the ring. Barrett gets the Bull Hammer on Truth but Kofi is back and gets Trouble in Paradise on Barrett! He goes for the pin but Cesaro pulls him off and deadlifts him up into the Neutralizer! WOW! Cesaro def. Kingston, Truth & Barrett, Neutralizer - 12 min, ***1/2
- Punk runs down The Miz while the lie detector dude hooks him up. He's clearly just saying whatever he wants. He says that Miz wasn't paying attention at wrestling school and say that Miz sucks -- to which Miz responds with "no, but your mom does!" Okay, maybe I was wrong. That was awful. Punk does NOT want to be a part of this. Miz eventually asks Punk if he was working with Maddox and The Shield, and right on cue here they come. Lots of The Shield this week. They beat the shit out of The Miz, but here come Kane and Bryan! The Shield hold them off, but here comes RYBACK! He throws Ambrose out of the ring and chases him into the crowd while Kane and Bryan do the same with Reigns and Rollins respectively. Punk is left alone in the ring with a mostly dead Miz and once again stands tall to end the show. WAIT, IT'S RYBACK! Shellshocked on Punk! He's got a chair! He's got a ladder! He DRILLS Punk in the stomach with the ladder and whacks the shit out of his back with the chair, and now it's a table! Powerbomb through the table and THAT is how we end RAW.
Overall RAW Thoughts
Definitely a step down from the past few weeks. Good wrestling in the form of ADR v. Sin Cara and the US Title four-way, but everything else was lackluster. All of the storyline stuff was pretty crappy but I'm glad The Shield got so much airtime. Now they need to talk again next week. They put the four-way match in the usual dead spot, which stopped it from being a dead spot. Amazing how you can put something good on TV and it actually makes for good TV! Show was okay but the string of highly enjoyable shows ends at 4.
Empowered Women! Yeah!
According to our good friends at the Observer, WWE is running the shitty AJ/Cena/Vickie angle (w/Ziggler) because they want to attract the female audience. Outside of the fact that it makes no sense what-so-fucking-ever, it's beyond insulting. We know WWE doesn't think much of women, but their idea of attracting them to watch is by putting on a pseudo-soap opera angle in which the protagonist female has been spending months and months being portrayed as, and made fun of for, being crazy? Really? I guess putting together a strong women's wrestling division featuring characters that could make young girls and women feel good about themselves wouldn't make sense.
TNA Cutting Back on PPVs
In a move that the IWC has been clamoring to be made for years by both major companies, TNA has announced that they will be cutting at least two pay-per-view offerings from their schedule in 2013. It is official that the two biggest PPVs of TNA's year, LockDown and Bound For Glory, will be preceeded by PPV-free months. This means TNA will cut out February's Against All Odds before March's LockDown and the September No Surrender will be axed before the October BFG event. Apparently Dixie Carter has been wanting to do so for a while. I hope eventually they'll go further and leave it at 8 or even 6 shows a year.
TNA's Long Term Plans
After last week's live episode of Impact, word is that people backstage are very optimistic for the future. The creative team has plans for major angles leading up to LockDown in March, specifically for the Aces & Eights and World Title. Initial plans are apparently to have Austin Aries challenge Jeff Hardy for the World Title in the cage and to have TNA v. As&8s in Lethal LockDown. That's great, but the lineup for that match is less than enthralling. It's reported that it will very possibly see an Aces & Eights team of Devon, DOC, Wes Brisco, Garrett Bischoff and a 4th member (I assume either D'Lo or whatever name Mike Knox goes by). I can't believe they're really going to have D'Lo Brown revealed as one of the major players (VP it seems) of Aces & Eights. That's just ridiculous.
- John Cena and Daniel Bryan took Nikki and Brie Bella to the twins' high school reunion last week. Cena was way overdressed.
- Yes, that is indeed my analysis.
- It appears that Daniels & Kazarian will finally be getting an official team name. They are going by Bad Influence now, it seems. Really good name.
- One half of the Ascension team, Kenneth Cameron, has been released. He got drunk and beat up a cop (something like that) on Thanksgiving morning. It happened like 10 miles from my house. I don't know why, but I marked out for that. Sucks for Conor O'Brien, as the team was apparently soon to be called up to the main roster, but oh well. I was never particularly high on them. Their entrance was loooooooong and boring and their matches were just okayish.
- Apparently some wrestler asked Mick Foley if he could use one of his moves. For some reason he was vague about it. I'm trying to find a joke. It's not there.
- Some loser is mad at Bill DeMott. He's whining on Twitter a lot. Apparently Mike Bucci a.k.a. Simon Dean is backing up the dude's claims.
- According to Tyler Recks, John Cena is a complete dick. Honestly, at this point I'm not sure that I don't believe the bad stuff about him. Seems like a lot of people agree that he is something of a Hogan-lite backstage. Did he hold back Alex Riley's push? Did he fuck Kenn Doane's girlfriend? Did he shoot JR?
From Lee Goodfellow:"This was great. Solid story with the legend Liger grounding and dominating the youngster for ten minutes, which made Ibushi's eventual comeback feel huge. This was Ibushi's first tournament in New Japan, and they put him over in a big way here. As you may or may not know, despite being an outsider (DDT is his home promotion) Ibushi is now a pillar of the NJPW junior division, a one time time BOTSJ winner and a two time junior heavyweight champion. So, this was a seminal match."