411’s Instant Analysis 11.12.12: WWE Monday Night Raw
Welcome to this week’s Instant Analysis of Monday Night Raw. I’m your humble reviewer, Chad Nevett and I am back, once again. Two weeks ago, I was gone because my wife got her PhD that day and we were out celebrating. Last week, I… er… fell asleep. I had some time to kill before Raw started, was reading, and fell asleep. I woke up and an hour of Raw had already happened, so all that was left to do was send an embarrassed e-mail to Larry, Ashish, and Jeremy and await some mockery at the hands of Mr. Csonka. He did not disappoint. So, let’s get to tonight’s episode of Raw before I fall asleep again…
What the hell is this crap? What happened while I was asleep? I like the idea of a recap, but this is terrible. Usually, the WWE is better than this when it comes to production.
SEGMENT ONE: Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
Match Result: Randy Orton pinned Dolph Ziggler
Match Length: Around three minutes, 15 seconds
A high energy opening that was there to allow Teddy Long to do what Teddy Long does best: turn singles matches into tag matches! What little we had of this match was decent. Orton and Ziggler just hitting the bullet points of a longer match with Ziggler eating the pin, because he loves their taste so goddamn much.
Rating: 5.0 out of 10
SEGMENT TWO: Randy Orton & Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio
Match Result: Alberto Del Rio pinned Kofi Kingston
Match Length: Around eight minutes, 20 seconds
Wow, that match almost had a completely different finish when Dolph Ziggler was slightly too late to break up a pin attempt and the ref’s hand seemed to actually hit the mat on the three count. Oops. Otherwise, this was a fine, basic sort of tag match. The heels worked over Kofi Kingston who also ate the pin. So, Del Rio gets a win, so does Orton, and the Intercontinental Champion and Mr. Money in the Bank have to take the losses. Interesting strategy in building people up, eh? Ziggler was impressive in these two matches, though. Go away for a while and, when you come back Ziggler looks even better than you remember. That’s what I learned tonight.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
SEGMENT THREE: Does Anyone Care?
I had somehow hoped that this whole AJ/Cena/Vickie story would have been over with the rumored Cena/Ziggler Survivor Series match squelched, but, hey, I guess not. Dammit. This was torture. Meaningless soap opera crap that really doesn’t matter in any way and is focused, mostly, on non-wrestlers who should, ideally, function to elevate wrestlers. Instead, they’re dragging them down. I would take a goofy, unfunny John Cena promo three times the length of this segment over what I just saw. How long until the twist that in no way justifies the drawn out nature of this terrible story?
Rating: 1.0 out of 10
SEGMENT FOUR: William Regal vs. Big Show
Match Result: Big Shown pinned William Regal
Match Length: Around one minute, 40 seconds
Brief squash match where Big Show looks even tougher for destroying William Regal while Sheamus gets a chance to beat up on the Big Show a bit. What I’m surprised about is how Regal has somehow turned face in this angle. That seems wrong somehow.
Rating: 5.0 out of 10
SEGMENT FIVE: Layla vs. Kaitlyn
Match Result: Kaitlyn pinned Layla
Match Length: One minute
Does the WWE have any other Divas than these three? I think there’s a fourth one that teams with Eve in tag matches against these two, but, for the life of me, I cannot think of who that Diva would be. Nice to see the amateur who gets lucky, as Eve put it, get the win. And so quickly. Over a former Divas champion. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah.
Rating: 3.5 out of 10
SEGMENT SIX: Jerry Lawler Returns and Paul Heyman has a Heart Attack
Well, son, I sure did enjoy that segment. Completely tasteless, of course, but that’s the whole point of a heel like CM Punk. He takes something heartfelt like Jerry Lawler returning and turns it into just another part of an angle where you somehow learn you can hate him a little bit more. And, of course, Lawler is fine with this. Lawler has used the death of his mother to further an angle and, clearly, will use anything if it can be used. The Heyman heart attack made me laugh. It was just pure dickery and why not? Mick Foley’s involvement adds a level of passion that is hard to match and I find Punk’s dismissal to be the perfect response. Punk’s ability to simply dismiss everything that crosses his path is one of the more interesting aspects of the character and it was the perfect capper to Foley’s “He was dead!” speech. Not the best segment we’ve seen this year from any of these men, but still rather good.
Rating: 8.0 out of 10
SEGMENT SEVEN: Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd vs. the Prime Time Players, Primo & Epico
Match Result: Justin Gabriel pinned Darren Young
Match Length: Around nine minutes
A fun match where I was surprised at first that Rey Mysterio was the face to be the goat of this match… until I realized that he’s the only face who could fully get the crowd’s sympathy as the heels beat him down. Titus O’Neil’s manhandling of Rey Rey showed some nice attitude and power. The final energetic push towards the end was decent and flowed well. It would have preferred a quicker pace with this group of guys, though. Why get sucked into a typical tag rhythm when only O’Neil requires a slower pace? Just go balls out, boys! In that respect, this was disappointing.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
SEGMENT EIGHT: R-Truth vs. Tensai
Match Result: R-Truth pinned Tensai
Match Length: Around two minutes, 15 seconds (joined in progress)
R-Truth gets a token win, but I was more focused on Antonio Cesaro, because… well, him on commentary is genuinely more entertaining than Truth/Tensai in the ring. Just remember, when Cesaro retains the title on Sunday, that means that he also beat Tensai through a transitive relationship.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
SEGMENT NINE: Ryback vs. Brad Maddox
Match Result: Ryback pinned Brad Maddox
Match Length: Five and a half minutes
Huh. Well, that was unexpected. I can’t have been the only person who was watching and waiting for something to happen that would somehow give Maddox the win. Or tease the possibility of a win. Instead, Ryback killed him. Killed him dead. Good. But, hardly the payoff you’d expect after the build. It’s like they woke and realized that no one cared.
Rating: 5.0 out of 10
SEGMENT TEN: Sheamus vs. David Otunga
Match Result: Sheamus pinned David Otunga
Match Length: Around two minutes, 20 seconds
I never seem to tire of Sheamus kicking the crap out of people. I like that he seems like he’s having fun. You don’t always get the impression that guys are enjoying their job in the ring. With Sheamus, you usually do. That’s nice.
Rating: 5.0 out of 10
SEGMENT ELEVEN: Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Kane & the Miz
Match Result: Kane pinned Cody Rhodes
Match Length: A little over five and a half minutes(joined in progress)
I’m glad the Miz won the voting. It would be nice if it were legitimate, but I don’t really care if it wasn’t. There was a decent story here with Daniel Bryan jealous of Kane teaming with someone else. It’s an added dimension to the duo and gives them some new things to do, like Bryan going after the Miz and that resulting in Rhodes getting hurt instead. It’s a twist on the typical Kane/Bryan bit where they fight and, somehow, that’s worse for their opponents than them. I wasn’t sure that lengthening out the Bryan/Kane partnership would work, but this development proves me wrong.
Rating: 7.0 out of 10
SEGMENT TWELVE: John Cena vs. CM Punk
Match Result: John Cena pinned CM Punk
Match Length: 12 and a half minutes
No real complaints here. Cena and Punk can wrestle a decent match together in their sleep and they put on a good show here. Not a lot of new or different things from what we’ve seen them do before, but a few nice touches here and there. The inclusion of Mick Foley didn’t add much, but the showdown post-match between Cena and Ryback was good. I would have liked to see a little more hostility there — of course, CM Punk’s pathetic sad look made the final shot of the two grabbing at the belt with Punk whining in the background. Still, I wonder if this needed some actual physical confrontation between Cena and Ryback… It’s so rooted in Punk that the Triple Threat element isn’t as strong as it could be. But, saving it for the PPV is smart… Either way, this was a good main event, albeit one we’ve seen many times before and this one didn’t add a whole lot.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Segment of the Night: The Return of Jerry Lawler
Trash Segment of the Night: The Vickie/AJ/Cena Crap
Final Analysis: An uneven show in many places. Lots of filler segments/squash matches that are so generic that they don’t really add anything anymore. Like, R-Truth beating Tensai is almost meaningless. They pushed the PPV, but there wasn’t any strong go home moment that made the show a must buy based on what we saw here. The closest thing was the final shot with Ryback and Cena tugging at the belt, Punk’s face almost in tears… Otherwise, it was a lukewarm push. That said, I enjoyed a number of matches and segments for what they were. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with a bunch of workmanlike segments that do a basic job, there’s just nothing particularly appealing about them either.
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