WWE Raw Report KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 1/17: Cena vs. Punk, Royal Rumble Hype, Bryan vs. Morrison, Ziggler vs. Orton
Jan 17, 2011 - 10:06:51 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT
JANUARY 17, 2011
LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
[Q1 - START HOUR ONE]
-WWE opened with the usual video tribute to Martin Luther King. Michael Cole then introduced the show. No Raw opening theme or pyro this week, as they saved some money by going right to John Cena's ring entrance. Hey, if saves a few jobs and buys a few more expensive cars, private jets, and a bigger vacation home for the McMahon family, why not cut back on the music and pyro, right?
-Cena looked at a video package on what C.M. Punk did to him. He said that was last year and he's ready to move forward. He said he has New Year's Resolutions including getting revenge on that "deranged psychopath C.M. Punk," find a copy of Reggie's Prayer for later in the show, win the Royal Rumble, and go on to WrestleMania to become the new WWE Champion. He got a mix of cheers and boos.
The Miz walked out with Alex Riley. He walked to the ring while asking Cena, "Really? You're going to win the WWE Title at WrestleMania? Really?" He said it's safe to say nobody wants that because he's "played out." He said in contrast he is the most must-see WWE Superstar in the company. He said the odds are stacked against him more than ever because the Rumble will have 40, not just 30, in it this year. He said the person who does win the Rumble gets to choose to go after either the WWE Title or World Title. He says whomever wins the Rumble shouldn't come after him because they will lose.
Cena mocked Miz's voice and went into a Low Ki impersonation meant to be Sly Stallone. Jerry Lawler earned his check by chuckling. Cena said if it weren't for Cole, Lawler would be WWE Champion. And if it weren't for Riley, Randy Orton should be WWE Champion. Cena questioned whether Riley and Miz are "must-see." He said: "You guys look like a more effeminent version of the Kardasian Sisters." Cole said he was the Ricky Gervais of the WWE. Cena called Riley a Chicken McNugget. Cena added, "Michael Cole's got the street cred of the Jonas Brothers." I can't believe Cena just took a dig at the pop icons who are most likely to be pinned to the wall of teenage girls and young boys in bedrooms across America.
He said Miz's only challenging bout in the last six months was with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He said, "That means your body makes poppy noises." He turned and said, "Guys, it's PG, I'm doing the best I can." I can't believe how much attention WWE decides to direct toward the PG rating. It's something they shouldn't draw attention to as it just turns away the 20-plus crowd and throws in their face that this show is aimed at 11 year old boys. Miz congratulated Lawler for getting a win last week and said he's the only one in this group who actually wants to fight anyone. The crowd loudly chanted, "Jerry! Jerry!"
Miz fired back: "Cena, you are so corny." Miz said he has no doubt he can fight with the best brawlers in WWE history. He said the whole WWE Universe knows it. He said the same about the greatest technicians in WWE history. He said he is The Miz and he is… then he paused and said, "I will finish that sentence when I destroy Randy Orton."
Cena said that's the first thing he said that makes sense. He said Miz vs. Orton sounds like a championship-worthy WrestleMania match. He said, though, he won't make it past the Royal Rumble. When Miz seemed irritated, Cena asked, "What, is the corny guy getting under your skin. I 'must see' you doing something about." Punk's music then played and he walked out with the new Nexus - David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, and Husky Harris.
Punk told Miz he doesn't have to prove or explain himself "to the jerk known as John Cena." He said Cena's odds are slimmer than ever with 40 people in the Rumble, while he has three people supporting him in the Rumble, so with that in mind, Cena's odds drop from slim to near zero. He said he can't wait to see him take on those odds. The rest of Nexus walked into the ring and attacked Cena. Cena tried to fight them off, but Santino and Vladimir Kozlov made the save. "Suddenly the odds are even!" said Cole. Nexus retreated as Punk looked on with concern.
The G.M. chime sounded and Cole stepped up to the podium. Cole read a statement ordering Nexus members barred from ringside later. If they violate that stip, they'd be out of the Rumble. The Raw theme played in the background as Nexus freaked out and Cena smiled. Cole hyped the WWE Tag Team Titles were on the line next, plus Orton would face Dolph Ziggler on Raw. They showed the Smackdown logo behind Ziggler, and he was shown with Vickie Guerrero. [c]
1 -- SANTINO & VLADIMIR KOZLOV (w/Tamina) vs. THE USOS
Cole said it would be interesting to hear what the Usos think of Tamina coming to the ring with the tag champs instead of them. Yes, it would, but WWE doesn't give much mic time to tag teams. Cole noted the Usos are the sons of former WWE wrestler Rikishi. Not a lot to this. Santino won with the Cobra at 2:00. It's tough to get wrapped up in anything going on in WWE when the Cobra is presented a serious way to win matches against actual wrestlers.
WINNERS: Santino & Kozlov in 2:00 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles.
-Backstage Husky, McGill, and Otunga were worked up as they tried to figure out how to respond to the G.M. ruling. Punk walked up to them and just smiled, but in that creepy cult leader type of way. He looked each of them, one at a time, and then said, "Faith." He nodded and smiled and walked away.
-The Bella Twins led Daniel Bryan toward the entrance tunnel as John Morrison walked up to him. [c]
-A video package aired on Morrison's arsenal of flying athletic moves. They cut to the ring where he had that odd smile going.
2 -- JOHN MORRISON vs. DANIEL BRYAN (w/The Bellas)
Why is this match taking place? I'm not complaining, but it's an odd match-up to just throw out there. "How boring is this guy?" asked Cole. Lawler barely came to his defense, saying, "At least you can't say that about the Bellas." Cole asked what Nikki and Bri see in Bryan. Lawler said he was jealous. They've stopped the references to his being vegan. Less than a minute in they cut to a break. [c]
Cole called him a "boring nerd." Morrison played to the crowd before going for Starship Pain, which made him look like a dope as it gave Bryan time to recover and move out of his way. Lawler called him on it. Wouldn't you rather have someone kick out of your finisher than look like a complete idiot for showboating to the crowd before executing the finisher? Both men were down at 4:00. Morrison got up first and got in some offense. Bryan countered with a back suplex. Morrison landed on his feet. Bryan rolled up Morrison for a two count. Morrison ducked a kick. They continued rapid-fire reversals and Bryan eventually went for the LeBell Lock. Morrison struggled to break free before it was locked on. Morrison then catapulted Bryan into the top turnbuckle. Morrison hit his springboard flash kick and then a running knee to Bryan's temple for the three count.
WINNER: Morrison in 8:00.
STAR RATING (**1/4): Bryan's cooled off lately in terms of his push. It was a good chance to give Morrison a little momentum back and also put him in the ring against someone shorter than him to create the illusion of size. And it was a good short match, tough to rate because we missed the middle three minutes.
-Afterward Bryan and Morrison shook hands. Sheamus walked onto the ramp and said before he met him, he was mediocre, but he forced him to take his game to another level. He said he made him and he can thus destroy him. Morrison shook his head no. Sheamus said Morrison is not in his league, nor is Bryan. Bryan took exception. Sheamus said in two weeks when he conquers 39 WWE Superstars to win the biggest Royal Rumble ever, the whole world will know it, too. He said the Royal Rumble "is a match designed for a king." He closed with "Long live the King!" Sheamus has become a cartoon character, a step back from where he was 8-12 months ago. He's doing the best he can with this cheesy gimmick, and it's not the worst thing as it's part of the WWE circus and he's in the upper-mid-card mix, but it's most certainly a step back.
-Lawler picked Orton to beat Ziggler.
-Bri and Nikki argued over who could end Bryan's virginity first. They didn't say "virgin," but they talked about who could be his "first."
-Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Vickie Guerrero. Cole threw sexy superlatives her way. Vickie stepped into the ring and introduced Ziggler. Then Orton made his full ring intro. They cut to a break before the match began. [c]
-A Smackdown commercial aired hyping Wade Barrett assembling a new faction and taking out Big Show.
3 -- RANDY ORTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero)
Cole said this was the first time these two had ever faced each other one on one. Lawler said it'd be a "feather in Ziggler's cap" if he cam over to Raw and beat Orton. Orton countered an early Ziggler attack and pounded away with some punches while in a mount, then hit a clothesline. Orton stomped on Ziggler as he rolled to the edge of the ring.
[Q5 - START HOUR TWO]
Ziggler took over at the start of the second hour at 3:00 as Cole did a verbal reset of the show for people just tuning in. Ziggler took over after one of his signature dropkicks. At 8:00 Ziggler applied his sleeper hold. Orton collapsed, but eventually grabbed the ropes to force a break. Ziggler went for his Zig Zag, but Orton held onto the top rope. He went for it again, but Orton turned it into an RKO for the clean three count.
WINNER: Orton in 9:00.
STAR RATING (**1/4): Basic good match these two can sleep walk through. Not sure if that did much to dispel that Ziggler is part of the secondary brand and he's not quite a legit top tier guy. I suppose holding his own while sharing the stage might be seen by some as validating him to some extent, but he's the New Number One Contender on Smackdown, so this doesn't exactly give him momentum or credibility headed into a title shot against Edge.
-Afterward Riley and Miz attacked Orton. Miz disassembled the ringside announce table. Lawler stood up and said no way. Riley grabbed Lawler. Lawler punched Riley. Miz threw Lawler over the ringside barrier. Miz then threw Orton into the announce table. Then he rammed Orton back-first into the ringpost.
-Cole and Lawler plugged Cena vs. Punk.
-A video hyped Shawn Michaels being inducted into the Hall of Fame. [c]
-WWE Fact: Did you know that WWE Magazine is the number one selling magazine at Wal-Mart, even out-selling Sports Illustrated.
-A video recap aired of the Miz & Riley beatdown of Orton before the break.
-Punk sat down with the Nexus members to explain to them that one must have humility to truly have faith and be willing to sacrifice their all and bow before the temptations of the blood-thirsty. To truly sacrifice, the soul must be sanctified. He said those are the qualities of loyalty. He hung his head. Nexus followed.
4 -- MARYSE vs. NATALYA
Eve and Melina joined Cole and Lawler on commentary. Cole said Melina wasn't saying much, but at least Eve was talking. Natalya applied the sharpshooter for the win within two minutes. Cole said Eve added a "wealth of information" during the match. In 90 seconds, how can anyone add a wealth of anything. All Eve said is Natayla is respected by other Divas as a wrestler and a person and that Maryse gives lousy beauty tips.
WINNER: Natayla in 2:00.
-Afterward Maryse threw a fit and got in the face of Cole. Eve got up and shoved her and walked away. Maryse complained more to Cole. He asked, "Why are you yelling at me? You lost. What do you want me to do?" Ted DiBiase walked up to her and she blamed him for her loss. She called him a loser. DiBiase grabbed a mic and said nobody thinks he can win the Rumble. He said he could throw anyone over the top rope and he'd prove it right now. He wore his "$$$" t-shirt that surely nobody is buying. They've pretty much dropped the Million Dollar Man Jr. gimmick. They cut to a break as DiBiase challenged anyone to come to the ring so he could throw them over the top rope. [c]
5 -- TED DIBIASE vs. MARK HENRY -- Over the Top Rope Challenge
Cole explained the rules of the Royal Rumble match. Henry splashed DiBiase in the corner early. DiBiase fired back with a dropkick. Henry elbowed DiBiase and tossed him over the top rope.
WINNER: Henry in 15 seconds.
-Afterward William Regal, Yoshi Tatsu, and Tyson Kidd ran out and attacked Henry. Then many other wrestlers from the back ran out: Zach Ryder, Primo, David Hart Smith, R-Truth, and Darren Young. They had a mini-Royal Rumble as Cole talked about how alliances sometimes form in the Rumble. Henry pressed Ryder into the air, but Sheamus entered the ring and attacked Henry. He tossed everyone else over the top rope other than Henry. They caught a brief glimpse of DHS looking totally bored. Henry then tossed Sheamus over the top rope. Way to see the Rumble. Show a bunch of jobbers and off-TV "Superstars" and then give the impression that Henry of all people has the best chance to win.
Alberto Del Rio made his way to the ring in a nice car, honking the horn obnoxiously the whole way. He introduced himself to the crowd. He said it's his destiny to win the Rumble and go on to WrestleMania to become champion at WrestleMania. Cole said he has a real chance, but he also wondered who would "throw that monster out of the ring over the top rope," in reference to Henry.
-Cole plugged Cena vs. Punk again.
-A vignette aired with Derek Bateman asking if viewers wanted to be strong and powerful and physically impressive. He said, "Of course you have, so have I, that's why we here at the Derek Bateman Institute have created this cologne - World's Strongest Man." He said it's derived from the sweat glands of the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry. He sprayed it and sniffed and and it made a cartoon face. Henry did a voiceover saying it can cause aggressive sexual behavior if used within 50 feet of a hippopotamus, could cause dizziness in pot-bellied pigs, and could cause hypertension in mosquitos, wasps, or bumble bees. I can't believe I had to type that as part of my job.
-An exasperated Cole said Bateman can be seen Tuesdays on NXT. Cole told Lawler he had to get involved in someone else's business again. Lawler said he'd like to stick his fist in his nose. Cole sang back: "You can't because you'll be fired!" He then threw to the Royal Rumble video that includes updated historic stats. It's a great feature that noted: 656 Superstars have been eliminated; 39 is the record number of wrestlers eliminated by Shawn Michaels; 26 is the number of Hall of Famers who have competed in the Rumble; 183,932 pounds is the total weight of wrestlers entering the ring for the Rumble over the years (who added that up, or did they just make it up?); 2 women have competed in the Rumble; 11 is how many victims Kane eliminated in a single match; 62:12 is the record length Rey Mysterio lasted in his win; :02 was the length of time Warlord lasted until Santino was eliminated on 0:01; 3 is the number of wins Stone Cole had. If UFC got in the game of promoting their events like WWE does the Rumble, they'd be even bigger. WWE is so far ahead of them in certain key areas, and this video is one example of knowing how to draw on your history and really get people excited about a product.
-Cole and Lawler hyped the Rumble line-up so far.
-Cole then announced that Edge vs. Miz would take place on Raw next week.
-Backstage Cena was caught in the middle of a drug deal. Well, that's what it looked like. Except the drug was beef jerky or something. He then too someone's cell phone backstage, said he'd call him back, and then threw the phone into his tray of food. [c]
6 -- JOHN CENA vs. C.M. PUNK
During Punk's ring intro, Lawler stressed that if anyone is asked to go through an initiation to be part of a group, turn it down and walk away. Cena then made his full ring intro. After a staredown and trash-talking moment mid-ring, Cena went on an early offensive flurry. Cena scored an early two count. When Cena set up a backdrop, Punk kicked him and then slidekicked him to the floor. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Punk had Cena in a head scissors after the break. Cole said Punk is charismatic and radiant and so he understands why he has followers, as he provides leadership and hope to his Nexus members. He said Wade Barrett put them down emotionally and psychologically, and Punk is giving them a chance to thrive in this "new system." Lawler said it's a cult and we know what happens to cults. Cole said maybe they're searching for something and are in need of hope and faith, as Punk said. Cena made a comeback at 6:00 and went into his You Can't See Me routine. He landed the fistdrop and then went for an Attitude Adjustment. Punk escaped and dropkicked Cena for a two count. Cena applied an STF, but Punk reached the bottom rope. At 9:00 Punk made a comeback and hit a clothesline off the ropes to score a near fall.
[Q9 - OVERRUN]
Cole reset the show at the top of the hour for people flipping channels and just tuning in. Punk locked in the Anaconda Vice. Cena showed signs of passing out. Cena, though, powered his way toward the bottom rope. Cena stopped short and faded, but then reached up and grabbed the bottom rope to force a break. Punk kicked Cena of the ring apron. Punk dove at Cena at ringside, but Cena caught him and rammed him back-first into the ringpost. Cena crawled to the top rope slowly. Punk recovered and punched Cena off balance on the top rope. He headbutted him and tried to set up a superplex. Cena blocked it by extending his arms and headbutting Punk in return. Cena then leaped off the top rope with a legdrop to the back of Punk's neck for a very near fall. Lawler explained, "What?!" Then Mason Ryan, "Batista Lookalike" from developmental, showed up on the ring apron. Punk kicked a distracted Cena from behind. The new wrestler entered the ring. Punk stood and smiled and extended his arms. The wrestler kicked Punk in the face, so the ref DQ'd punk. The mystery wrestler then one-arm slammed Cena.
WINNER: Punk via DQ in 16:00.
STAR RATING (**3/4): Good match. They gave away a lot of what is going to be a marquee match this season headed into WrestleMania. The angle afterward with Mason's debut overshadows that.
-Afterward Mason kneeled before Punk, who fitted him with an "N" armband to signify he was now a member of Nexus. Mason isn't quite as tall as Batista, but he's got the Main Event Look. The show ended with Punk and all of Nexus standing with their arms extended in the air. The announcers didn't know who the new wrestler was or say his name.
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