This Raw review is (or will be very soon) posted over at Fair To Flair (in our trademark WOO! vs. BOO! format. Everything “WOO!” was awesome, while everything “BOO!” was hit in the knee with a lead pipe, carted out of the arena, and continuously carted through big, swinging double-doors that say “TNA”. I also picture the EMTs that carted him through the doors to come back through dusting their hands off enthusiastically).
Now let's all start reading the first Raw review I've done that actually went up the day after. Someone give me a gold star.
MONDAY NIGHT RAW 11/28/11
RODDY PIPER IS JOHN CENA’S SPLINTER
I love that once a year, Roddy Piper has to come and literally slap some sense into John Cena.
Last year, right around this time, Piper showed up and essentially shook John Cena until he finally displayed an emotion other than “lofl”. This year (er, yesterday), he conducted a pro wrestler litmus test on Cena and managed to draw both a white hot reaction from the crowd and an emotional, real promo out of Cena, which almost… almost blew the John Cena character wide open.
Roddy Piper seems to be the only person who can tap into John Cena and bring out the best in him. He offers wisdom on the psyche of a pro wrestler (“when you cheered me I did good things, when you booed me I did bad things”). When he talks, people shut up, take a knee and listen. He sees the good in bad people and the flaws in good people. He likes pizza (I assume). He can make a funny. He’s John Cena’s Splinter.
John Cena wants to impress Piper. He wants to prove to him that he can figure shit out on his own and go all Raphael through the Foot on a rooftop without the help of a super-powered Hall Of Fame ring (I wonder if because Hogan’s ring gave Abyss “Hogan-powers” and he had the red and yellow and Abyssamania [actual word said by Hulk Hogan], then if Cena used Piper’s ring, he’d get “Piper-powers” and start being funny for real and not win any more World Titles and wear a kilt so The Rock could show up and go “HAHA GAY” and pass out laughing because John Cena is in a dress and that is like catnip for Rocky).
Just like Splinter teaching the Turtles how the real world won’t understand or accept them, Piper is trying to teach Cena to deal with the fans that boo him so when he shows up at WrestleMania, expecting to win, but he loses and everyone cheers, he doesn’t have a nervous breakdown. Piper is trying to turn Cena.
And WWE.com is trying to turn Cena. The Rock is trying to turn Cena. It seems that everyone is trying to get John Cena to freak the fuck out and start chucking people through barber shop windows and legdrop Randy Savage and blow smoke over John Morrison’s sparkly abs, but, as David Shoemaker and Brandon Stroud have been saying all along, he’s already heel. Turning him heel would only turn him face.
The John Cena character can’t change. Everything around him can, because there will always be a million ways to orchestrate both a scenario where he’s booed out of the building (i.e. Punk, Rock, ECW, etc.), and a scenario where he assembles a team of SuperFriends to take out the Nexus and get cheers that bring the building down. Y’know?
That said, I’d still like to see John Cena tell The Rock he hates his fucking guts and then kick him in the dick.
DOLPH ZIGGLER DEF. RANDY ORTON (FT. WADE BARRETT DEF. COMMENTARY)
I think the best example of Ziggler’s new “show off” gimmick would be a weekly series called “What Can Dolph Ziggler Get A Good Match Out Of” where he wrestles different people and objects that you expect him to not be able to even wrestle, let alone get a passable match out of, but he blows everyone away when he DDTs himself and takes a nearfall from a porcelain birdbath.
This match was great. Maybe not quite as good as their last one on Raw, but still great. It was also aided by Vickie Guerrero yelling “FINISH HIM C’MON FINISH HIIIIM” from the VERY BEGINNING of the match. I love the idea that Vickie has no understanding of what goes into a wrestling match and right from the bell she’s just all “FUCKING KILL HIM ALREADY, GOD-UHHHHH”.
I can’t remember the last bad Dolph Ziggler match I saw. All the way back to his first match as Ziggler vs. Batista was awesome. Now he’s to the point where he’s wrestling two matches every Pay-Per-View and doing headstands after beating Randy Orton. I can’t wait for the day where he spins The Undertaker on his finger and 360 dunks off a step ladder.
Side note: Wade Barrett on commentary looked and sounded as sharp as Mason Ryan’s nipples.
DANIEL BRYAN KICKED MARK HENRY’S LEG OUT OF HIS LEG
Michael Cole brings out the best in Daniel Bryan. He’s like his Splinter.
Aside from the weak “we want Big Show” chant that made me want to heel hook my TV, this was a star-making promo from Bryan. Cole was an insufferable douche, which turned Bryan into a man of bearded conviction, which brought out Mark Henry (who is, to remind you, “half-way injured”) to get kicked in the leg.
I don’t expect Danielson to win the belt tonight. And if Mark Henry isn’t going to take the belt all the way to WrestleMania to defend it against Bryan, I could get behind him cashing in on Big Show at TLC, and turning “I’ve got ‘til 5” heel as champion.
Honourable Mention: Punk vs. Del Rio (a.k.a. wrestling, a.k.a. this is the kind of Raw people beg for after a Raw that is 97% shenanigans, a.k.a. even with Punk being wacky and saying “ass” and referencing Google searches [which incidentally brought me to a video titled “Del Rio Is A Boring Cunt”], the match itself was still great).
MONDAY NIGHT RAW 11/28/11
THERE’S ONLY ROOM FOR ONE JOHN
There really wasn’t too much to not like about John Morrison’s send off.
He got his leg lead piped out of his leg. He was staying gangster and stunting with Alex Riley before the match. He did that thing where he wrestles like his Pajama Jeans are too tight. He was killed off and I’m pretty sure John Laurinaitis came out for a “Future Endeavoured” Ron Simmons “DAMN” type punchline while he was on the stretcher (it’d be pretty great if he kept doing that anytime someone was about to get fired - he comes out, gives a derpy look of disapproval, and buries himself in his Blackberry until JTG gets wheeled away).
But for some reason, I’m still not sold on angry, solemnly Awesome Miz. He’s been reestablishing himself for the better part of this year with IMPACTS and STATEMENTS and IMPACTFUL STATEMENTS and STATED IMPACTS and I just miss the The Miz that had more charisma than that.
CAN I BORROW SOMEONE’S DIVAS SIGN LANGUAGE DICTIONARY
Every Divas match starts with a sign language mini-game that someone needs to subtitle. I get the Bellas calling their opponents “losers” by making an L out of their fingers and putting it on their head (that’s Divas Signing 101), but can someone decode Alicia Fox’s hand jive from last night? Even Natalya’s convoluted three-step YOU’RE GONNA CRY KELLY hand signals make some semblance of sense, but I think Alicia Fox was going off script there. Then again, pro wrestling signing typically doesn’t get more complicated than “YOU. ME. TEAM? BIG NOD” so I’m not exactly fluent.
THAT’S GOTTA BE (A CRAPPY) KANE (RETURN VIDEO)
It is crazy to me that a guy like Kane, who has TONS of built-in story and imagery and fire and death and brother murder and hell and brimstone and biblical fucking shit can’t even get a GOOD comeback video. Instead of using anything even remotely cool or creative, they decided to give Kane an HPV awareness commercial return video.
While I’m talking about video packages, I want someone to a/b that Sheamus video from last night where he was all “I’m a good lad! I like having a bit of fun I’m a nice guy!” with anything from two years ago where Michael Cole couldn’t stop yelling about how much Sheamus just loved to hurt people and how he’s a crazy Mark-Cuban-murdering asshole.
Honourable Mention: I think Jack Swagger tripped over his gigantic tongue.
Or something. I don’t know what the hayell happened right there. I think it’s karma for him abandoning his eye twitch.