Why did Heath Slater
Not win the Royal Rumble?
Such awful booking
WWE Monday Night RAW from Las Vegas, NV || TV Review
- Vickie with the cold open to spin the wheel: it's Orton v. Cesaro with a special guest referee later tonight. That's kind of a random way to start the show, especially with no immediate follow up.
- Punk is out first and he is PISSED. The crowd's all over him too. You'd think they would be a bit more fond of him in Vegas based on what happened a year and a half ago there. Vince comes out to interrupt. Punk: "You're a thief, you're a swindler!" Tonight there will be a performance evaluation for Paul Heyman, and it has to do with some sort of proof a deal Paul E. made with The Shield. I'm calling Lesnar makes an appearance tonight. There are only 10 more weeks left before WrestleMania and I'm sure he has a bunch of dates to burn.
Special Guest Ref The Miz: Antonio Cesaro v. Randy Orton
We are Joined In Progress with Orton getting a 2-count on AC. He hits a suplex and gets another. Hey Miz, tuck in that ref shirt, you slob! Cesaro begins to take over but Orton clotheslines him out of the corner and snapmares him down for 2. Very nice backdrop suplex gets 2 before Cesaro rolls out of the ring and takes control with a European uppercut, but barely a moment later he takes a backdrop over the barricade. Orton uses some uppercuts of his own with AC hanging over the apron and then comes back inside with a necksnap. My son notes that Miz is doing a great job here as the ref, not getting in the way, cheating against Cesaro or doing any fast pin counts. Just as he says it JBL goes on a rant about how Miz is biased against Cesaro because he's not stopping Orton from... doing nothing wrong.
European uppercut challenge! BOO! YAY! BOO! YAY! Cesaro gets the best of it but Orton stops short on an Irish whip and backdrops him over the top. Clothesline on the outside from Orton knocks us into a second commercial break even though we've only been back for 4 minutes. Jerks. 4 minutes later we come back to Cesaro hitting a backdrop suplex on Orton and giving him a big headbutt for 2. Orton tries to fight back but runs into Cesaro's SWEET Michinoku Driver. That gets 2, as does his gutwrench suplex. Orton begins his real comeback after countering another MD and gets his snap powerslam, but a boot in the corner leads to a leaping uppercut from Cesaro off the second rope. He argues with Miz because it only got a 2 count and Orton gets the 3.0 backbreaker, but he comes back by poking Orton in the eye. Miz takes issue with that and pulls Cesaro off Orton in the corner. Cesaro decides the best game plan is to turn his back on Orton and argue with Miz, and we all know how it ends when you turn your back on Orton. RKO and it's all over. Miz helps Cesaro up after the match only to put him right back down with the Skull Crushing Finale, much to the delight of the Vegas crowd. Fantstic first match for RAW tonight. Orton def. Cesaro, RKO - 13 min, ***1/4
- Backstage, Ryback spins the wheel and it lands on "Make Me Laugh". He enters and triggers a commercial. Back live and the Prime Time Players are here as well. They tell a joke with "AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT" as the punch line. Crowd's not amused. I am, so fuck 'em. Ryback's turn: what has 4 eyes, 20 fingers and is about to be unconscious?" I assume the answer is O'Neil and Young, since he goes after them. Young gets off easy, but Titus takes a MASSIVE spinebuster and then gets Shellshocked. He leads the crowd with the FEED ME MORE chant but stupid Matt Striker stupidly interrupts to announce him as the winner. He gets Shellshocked too, just to make everybody happy. No reason for this to happen, but I approve.
- Video package for Bob Backlund. Notably, they show a clip of an interview where he said "WWF".
- Vickie is backstage again and spins the wheel. It's "Player's Choice" as Wade Barrett (in the ring) gets to choose his opponent. Note: Vickie looks really good tonight. Barrett wants Bo Dallas after he eliminated the IC Champ Sunday from the Rumble match. They gotta turn up the volume on Bo's music!
Player's Choice: Wade Barrett v. Bo Dallas
Wade goes after him immediately but takes a paid of armdrags and a dropkick. He ducks a clothesline and LAYS INTO HIM with a mule kick and stomps him down in the corner. Barrett gets a boot in the ropes and sets up the Bull Hammer, but Dallas catches him out of nowhere with a powerslam and gets a quick pin. Barrett is SHOCKED. Good showing and a nice little surprise victory there. Dallas def. Barrett, powerslam - 2 min, *1/2
- Cody Rhodes spins the Wheel of Superstars backstage. It lands on John Cena. Woops.
Cody Rhodes v. John Cena
Cole notes that Cena can choose to wrestle for the WWE or World Title at WrestleMania. Who are you kidding, Cole? Cena throws his shitty dropkick after a quick hiptoss sequence. They trade hands and Cena tosses him with a quick suplex. Cody bails and grabs a mic "This is a complete waste of Cody Rhodes" and goes to leave. Cole misunderstands and thinks Cody is saying it's a waste of his time. Cena grabs him and tosses him back in. Attitude Adjustment ends it moments later. Interesting. Cena def. Rhodes, AA - 2 min, NR
- Cena grabs the mic after his light workout and wastes everybody's time explaining how the Royal Rumble works. Crowd agrees and chimes in with a pretty sizeable "Cena sucks!" chant. He admits to being a loser when it comes to wrestling CM Punk over the past 2 years. Then he finally cuts the promo where he admits to feeling empty because The Rock beat him last year. He goes through how either Rock or Punk could be champion by WrestleMania (did they announce a rematch?) but then announces that he will indeed challenge for the WWE Championship on April 7. So there will only be one Elimination Chamber match and there will be a Rock/Punk rematch? Kind of an odd promo here. Suddenly THE SHIELD bursts out and lays out Cena, but here comes Sheamus! He finds himself being pounded down in the corner and RYBACK IS HERE! Ambrose and Rollins get tossed! It's Reigns and Ryback! The others grab Ryback before anything can happen and lay him out on the outside. They get back in the ring and CENA'S UP! He attacks from behind but his advantage doesn't last long and he finally takes the three-man powerbomb.
- Tensai spins the wheel and it lands on Lingerie Pillow Fight. Vickie ain't having that, so Brodus Clay spins a different wheel and gets, to everybody's surprise, a dance off. Tensai is already gone, though, and Clay says he'll "let him know" about the change. Uh oh. I don't like where this is going.
Dance Off: Brodus Clay v. Tensai
Tensai, of course, comes out in a robe and has lingerie underneath. I hope they gave him a SHIT TON of money to make him leave Japan for this shit. Brodus Clay dances very unimpressively and Tensai refuses. King reminds him that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". Tensai: "Promise?" And then...
THE FUCKING HIP HOP HIPPO IS BACK! HE'S STARTING THE LAWNMOWER! HE'S DIGGING UP THE SOIL! Uh oh, Ron Simmons sees them on the screen. They see him too and stop short. Damn indeed. I hate myself for marking out over this. Significant hate. But this was awesome. Please make these two a team.
- Backstage, Del Rio spins the wheel and he will be in a Body Slam Challenge against The Big Show.
Hey, I finally figured out where Big Show gets his singlets!
Body Slam Challenge: Alberto Del Rio v. The Big Show
Show takes out Ricardo and it's a quick brawl with Del Rio. Suddenly ADR takes the WMD and Show pulls out duct tape. RR gets up to help but takes a boot to the face. Del Rio gets taped up to the ropes, which allows Big Show to murder the poor helpless Ricardo Rodriguez. Del Rio is almost in tears here. Del Rio: "This is between you and me!" Show lays the boots to ADR and adds some more tape before finishing Ricardo off with the WMD. He taunts punching ADR as well but just kicks him around for a while. Eventually he does knock him out. Great segment here. Getting revenge for this will definitely help push a ADR over the top as a face. It's weird... seems like they're setting up one-on-one rematches at Elimination Chamber for the two top titles.
Las Vegas Showgirl Lumberjill Match: Tamina v. Kaitlyn
It takes Cole less than a minute to tell us that Tamina is the daughter of legendary Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. The girls outside look fantastic, by the way. Kaitlyn gets knocked out of the ring and punches Aksana in the face. Kaitlyn puts Aksana's hat on Tamina and kicks her in the face. She goes for the pin, which for some reason prompts all of the lumberjills to come into the ring. They "brawl" and the crowd naps. At least Rosa was wearing next to nothing. That was good. Even the announcers are shitting all over this. Tamina is not amused. And she's got a ton of makeup caked on her face. Nothing happened, NR
- Holy cow, Las Vegas LOVES The Rock. He calls this moment the proudest of his whole career. He panders for a while before Punk comes out to a chorus of boos. He says the title was handed to Rock, just like everything else in his crappy spoonfed life. Punk's demand for an apology is hilarious. "Mr. Punk, sir, I'm sorry. Here's your title back!" Rock challenges Punk to come down to the ring to get the belt, but Punk is far too smart to take that bait. Rock calls him a "punk ass bitch" and the crowd tries, but fails, to chant it. Punk says that he's not doing this on Rock's schedule and offers to wrestle in a rematch over the weekend, but of course Rock doesn't do house shows. Punk says that instead, Rock can get his rematch against The Best in the World at Elimination Chamber. Well there's the rematch announcement. Did somebody fuck up the script and put Cena's promo first? Great stuff once Punk got out there and cut the shit. If they really are going to do Punk v. Taker at WrestleMania I can not wait for the amazing promos Punk will have in store.
Tables Match: Sheamus v. Damien Sandow
Sandow tries to run away, just like his partner (just without confusing Michael Cole) but Sheamus blindsides him and pulls out a table. Sandow runs away and Sheamus makes chase only to eat a dropkick on the outside. Sandow pulls out a table but Sheamus takes it away and just throws it at his face. Sadly the crowd doesn't give even a little bit of a shit after the Rock/Punk segment. Sandow works on Sheamus' arm and gives a receipt by throwing a table into Sheamus' face. He then traps Sheamus' arm in the legs of the table and Pillmanizes him a couple times. They tease Sandow getting Brogue Kicked off the apron through a table but he dodges it. Sheamus almost ends up through the same table but gets back into the ring with the battering ram shoulderblock. This is one of the most interesting table matches I've ever seen. Las Vegas: "Thank you Sandow!" They do a couple more good teases before Sheamus rushes Sandow into the corner through a propped up table with the White Noise. The crowd was tired from cheering so hard for The Rock, which sucks because this match deserved more than it got from them. Sheamus def. Sandow, White Noise through the table - 7 min, ***
Superstar Karaoke: Great Khali v. Zack Ryder
That wasn't nice. I wasn't paying attention and heard "Sexy Boy" only to look up and see Great Khali singing. Damn. 3MB comes out and gets beat up. JBL is speechless. This marks segment number 2 that Michael Cole shits on. Dude has no room to talk whatsoever.
- JERICHO IS HERE! YES! He's happy to be back, but Ziggler and Co. rain on his parade to remind him that he got him fired last year. AJ apologizes for putting Ziggler's briefcase on the line. Nice continuity there. Good on them. Vickie appears on the tron to spin the wheel, and it's strange bedfollows!
Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler v. Team Hell No
Ziggler flings his wet hair residue and Jericho and it triggers a commercial break. We come back from break with Ziggler refusing to make the tag and doing it again. The he does it again! Jericho smacks him in the back to tag in and dropkicks Kane off the apron. He misses the Lionsault and can't get the Walls, and Kane tags in. Jericho tosses Bryan into Kane to screw up the transition and they argue. Bryan pushes Kane and Kane pushes Bryan down. Ziggler tags himself in, so Jericho hits Kane from behind and runs away, leaving Ziggler for dead. Chokeslam ends it. Kane and Bryan argue anyway as the breakup continues. Team Hell No def. Ziggler & Jericho, Chokeslam - 6 min (2 on TV), *1/2
- Trish Stratus in the Hall of Fame! And they did THAT with the divas tonight.
- Main event performance evaluation: Heyman goes to shake Vince's hand but he's reluctant. The crowd chants for him to do it and he does, but then he douses himself with hand sanitizer. First question: "Have you ever had The Shield or Brad Maddox under contract?" Heyman says he's never had anything to do with either party. Vince: "Have you ever lied?" He owns up to lying every single day in his life because that's what a promoter does to survive, but then swears that he's not lying now. Not too convincing, but I'm convinced. I'm on the Twitter, and WWE Universe just posted a picture of Brock Lesnar showing up backstage. Somebody's getting fired! Anyway, Vince shows a video with Heyman admitting, on camera, that he paid Brad Maddox to be the evil referee at Hell in a Cell. He then admits that he pays The Shield too, and here they are to snuff him out. Aaaaaaaaaand he's dead. I guess that explains who produced The Shield's videos. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking about. Crowd: "You got busted!" Heyman: "That wasn't me." Crowd boos. Heyman: "Excuse me for a moment... MY CAREER IS ON THE LINE!" He tries to say that the guy on camera was an impersonator because his accent is easy to mimmick. He's been set up and refuses to admit that it was him! Awesome. What a weasel. Heyman is hilarious here. Vince is about to say the magic words, but IT'S BROCK LESNAR. I guess this is how they're going to set up the Triple H rematch. Brock's gonna F-5 Vince and Triple H is going to come to daddy-in-law's rescue. Crowd chants for Triple H. I hate myself, again, for enjoying this. Heyman is slumped in the corner with his hand on his forehead saying "Please leave the ring, Vince! Please leave the ring!" There's the F-5! Shit, I didn't see this coming. Blows my whole piece from last week to shit, doesn't it? The fuckers came up with a way to get to Triple H v. Brock II that I didn't see. Heyman made this segment awesome and the Brock return, even though WWE's Twitter blew it, was great as well.
Overall RAW Thoughts
This felt like a good episode of RAW from 2002. Part of it was the weird setups from the RAW Roulette, which debuted in 2002. There were only two matches, but they were good, with a traditional match between Orton and Cesaro and a really interesting Tables match with Sheamus and Sandow. Somehow I didn't feel a drag, though, as they got a lot done. Cena announced that he's going to challenge for the WWE Title, which choreographed the segment later on where the Punk/Rock rematch was set up -- I don't know why they did it backward, but whatever. They revealed that Heyman and Punk are indeed behind Maddox and The Shield. It was kind lame, but the money is in the followup, not the reveal. It's important to remember that before everybody shits all over how they did it. Plus the gang style beatdown was pretty awesome. Only one match, but it was a really good one, and some good angle advancement up and down the card. I was never bored and never sat here wishing the show would just end, so it gets a thumbs up from me. I can live without a ton of wrestling on RAW for a week. We get a ton of wrestling on WWE's other two shows.
- WWE sent out another survey this week, this time pertaining to WWE teaming up with cartoon franchises. It reminded me that they will be releasing a WWE/Scooby Doo full length animated movie this year with the gang trapsing around WrestleMania trying to solve a mystery with the help of AJ, Cena, Vinny Mac and more. That is going to be awesome. The survey brought up possible teamings with the Justice League, He Man (FUCK YES) and even the damn Rugrats. Don't think Doug was in there, though. I approve all of this 10 times over.
- Stupid Tammy Sytch got arrested again for going to her ex-boyfriend's house. What the fuck, Sunny?
- Hulk Hogan said something about his daughter that I actually agree with: "She's a really great actress, she has great timing, she'll take a half a breath and respond instead of having that knee-jerk reaction to what's going on which is what most wrestlers do." I'm sorry, but I agree. She has been pretty convincing during the Bully Ray angle. I was so ready to cringe at her participation, but it hasn't happened.
- Jimmy Corderas has a book coming out on April 1. It's called "The Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee". My initial thought was that I was going to get to finally find out whatever happened to Evan Karagias. Too bad.
Royal Rumble 2013 from Phoenix, AZ || PPV Review
- I think we all knew going into this show that exactly what happened was going to happen. I know I wrote the big piece last week about Rock v. Cena but I was really hoping to be wrong. My son and I watched the 2008 Royal Rumble to prepare (plus it's a school night so he didn't get to stay up) because I felt the need to watch Cena win the Rumble twice in one day.
Last Man Standing, World Title: Alberto Del Rio def. The Big Show
Interesting choice to start the show knowing that Team Hell No kept the belts later on. Good stuff here with a cool chokeslam spot through a table off one of those ugly hanging light panel things. This match will be forever known as the night Big Show introduced WWE to ULTRAVIOLENT LIGHT TUBES! Overall this was fun and the crowd was definitely into Del Rio. I'm really liking ADR as a face, and thank the lord they went with the turn because he was on a boring rocket to nowheresville. Or something like that. The finish would have been fine if they didn't do the same thing less than 3 years ago with Cena and Batista. Isn't the rule supposed to be 7 years? Oh, and ADR calling Bret Hart the "Canadian Alberto Del Rio" was great.
Tag Team Titles: Team Hell No def. Team Rhodes Scholars
Eh, this was okay. I was expecting the heels to win, as I figured that was the reason this wasn't the opening match. My thought going into this was that Kane and Bryan would lose the belts here and then have an altercation in the Rumble match (they did) and then another one in the Elimination Chamber match to solidify their breakup. I wonder if they're going to just have them lose the titles on PPV in a few weeks? They probably lost them on RAW and now I sound silly.
John Cena Wins The Royal Rumble Match
Ziggler's number one and I'm sitting on the couch telling my wife "here comes Sheamus" and then BOOM. Chris Jericho. I love marking out immediately. I was already excited that DZ was going to start the match, but bringing Jericho in at #2? Sweet! Santino's entrance at #5 was great. He tossed everybody out with such pride only to be surrounded by them, but he grabbed the Cobra and FOUGHT THEM OFF! That was awesome. Sadly he didn't make it out alive. Titus O'Neil was pretty great taking people out left and right when he first entered. I was kind of hoping he'd come out with the whistle and stop everybody dead in their tracks. Goldust and Cody fought and when Goldy was eliminated by his little brother it made Cody the biggest heel in the building.
Sheamus' eliminations of O'Neil and Otunga was great, as he just threw Otunga at Titus for the first elimination AND used Otunga as a chest-destroying replacement before kicking his face off. Why didn't Kofi just sit down in the chair and push off the announce table? Seems like he made it way more dangerous than he needed it to be. Doesn't matter. Another awesome Rumble spot for Kofi. What the hell are they going to have him do next year? Godfather getting dropkicked out and getting redressed and leaving without missing a beat was great. Plus, they just kept his music going! The Kane/Bryan eliminations were just great. I really thought Kane was going to give him a chance, too. Oddly, it was the second time somebody landed on somebody else to save themselves from getting eliminated in this match.
I don't think anybody in Phoenix remembered Sin Cara. Rey got no love in the match itself as he was in and gone before anybody had a chance to realize he was back. Bo Dallas got to eliminate Barrett AND Wade returned the favor, as it were. Does this mean Dallas is going to win the IC Cup on Main Event? That's a good way to debut the kid. Ziggler takes out Jericho -- I like the matchup, but I hope that isn't going to be the Road to WrestleMania feud that Jericho is back for. Ziggler doesn't need to beat Jericho. He already has, and EVERYBODY beats Jericho. Orton, who came in at some point, took out everybody with RKOs before Ryback tossed his ass out like an afterthought.
Final Four: Sheamus, Ziggler, Ryback and Cena - I still had hope that they would shock us all and let Ziggler pull this one out, but before they could barely tell us that we had a final four Ziggler has a boot in his face and is gone. Ryback LAUNCHED Sheamus out in a cool spot, and the final two is Cena and Ryback. I was really pulling for Ryback here just for the surprise, but the STF eventually led to Cena tossing him out unceremoniously to pick up his second Rumble match win. Overall the match was a lot of fun, as it always is, but the final three was really disappointing and the last elimination was poorly done. It was inevitable.
WWE Title: The Rock def. CM Punk
I don't have much of an opinion here to state. The match was good and Punk really showed how much of a ring general he is. This was HIS match and Rock let him lead. The collapsing table was scary, but it turned out fine. I think my favourite part of the whole thing was JBL yelling at Michael Cole for being a snitch for calling out The Shield when the lights went out. Match was restarted, Rock hit the People's Elbow and Punk's done. It happened and it ain't worth bitching about. I still wish Punk could have held the title forever, but I knew it was coming so it wasn't as disheartening as it would have been if I realistically believed that Punk had a chance.
Overall Royal Rumble Thoughts
It was a good show. The wrestling all delivered exactly as expected, the Rumble match was lots of fun even if the ending left a lot to be desired and the Road to WrestleMania has officially begun. I'm disappointed in the direction they're going, but I know there's going to be a ton of shit I'll be sitting on the couch marking out for leading up to April 7 so I'll shut up about it.
National Pro Wrestling Day!
The announcement of this was the first and only time I questioned moving from Jersey down to Florida. Now that it's coming this Saturday, I wish I had a way to get there to see it live. If you are anywhere near Philadelphia and have nothing to do this weekend you owe it to yourself to check out at least one of the two FREE cards that day. The Afternoon card has matches such as Colt Cabana v. Mike Quackenbush and the ROH Tag Champions Jay & Mark Briscoe v. Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs. 2 Cold Scorpio will be participating in a mini-tournament taylor made for high-flyers and KAIJU BIG BATTEL will be presenting a match. Then there's the Evening card will feature a huge 8-man tag with Los Ice Creams and FIST (Icarus & Chuck Taylor) v. 3.0 (Shane Matthews & Scott Parker) & The Colony. AR Fox v. Shane Strickland will be on the card for EVOLVE as well as another silly contest that will see the team of The Latvian Proud Oak & The Estonian Thunder Frog v. The Devastation Corporation. That would be Blaster McMassive and Max Smashmaster, in case you were wondering.
The bottom line is that this pair of FREE (did I mention FREE?) live events will feature a crap ton of talent, some you have heard of, many you have not, and at least 20 matches that will encompass pretty much every wrestling style you can think of, from SUPER SERIOUS all the way down to simple fun comedy. Everybody's preference will be covered. If you can't make it to Philly, you can still catch both shows on iPPV thanks to Smart Mark Video. That isn't free, but if you've got the scratch, give it a shot!
From TJ Hawke:"This was a really fun match, and I would really like to see a rematch one day soon. Bandido isn't on Elgin's level yet, but he has really grown into a really fine performer. Everyone should be booking Elgin; he is so on point with everything that he does."