No I did not see the PPV. I may have a chance later, but I read the spoilers and there were no surprises on the RAW side of things. So RAW starts with the Miz gloating over still being champion. He is interrupted by Alex Reilly playing Ghost of Christmas Past. No sign of Cole. Lawler and CM Punk are unaccompanied on the announce desk. Cole shows up, sadly, as Ghost of Christmas Present. Miz remains unrepentant. Christmas Future is a still image of the Miz-Girl on the Tron with overlaid moving lips, ala Conan O’Brien. John Morrison gets to provide the interruption. Morrison’s title shot will be “sometime soon”, so probably not being saved for Royal Rumble. Morrison goes after Miz and Reilly but Sheamus arrives to take Morrison down. Anonymous GM books a six-man tag between Miz, Reilly and Sheamus versus Morrison, Lawler and Orton. Orton ambushes the Miz to punctuate the segment.
Cole is back on commentary and Natalya has joined the gang to make it an even 4. A Triple Threat is on to determine a #1 contender to the Diva’s Championship. Eve, Alicia and Melina. No great talents here. Some good spots in the match and Melina wins, which is the lesser of three evils. Natalya tries to make nice with her challenger but gets bitch slapped for her efforts.
Nexus is not supposed to be here tonight. Daniel “Why am I stuck with the Bella Twins” Bryan faces William “I’m not retired yet” Regal. This is an excellent match. The student surpasses the master as Bryan makes Regal tap, really quickly, to the LaBell lock. He gets a kiss from both Bellas as a reward and doesn’t seem to know how to deal with it. There’s some random crap with Tamina and Maryse getting in an argument while standing on Santino’s back. And Mark Henry’s joy at no Nexus is curtailed by Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guererro being in da house.
We have a mixed tag with Santino joining with Tamina to face Ted Dibiase and Maryse. Santino’s constant attempts to use the Cobra make this comical and take away from a nice Superfly Splash by Tamina that gets her the win.
We’re at the midpoint of the show. Time to bring out John Cena. Cena wastes a lot of time being cutesy. They break with their own tradition and show some actual footage from last night’s PPV. It’s the scene where Cena brings down an avalanche of chairs on Wade Barrett. Barrett is safely under a palate so it’s not that big a deal. Hopefully he plugged his ears. Cena plans to be in the Royal Rumble. That’s when Vickie Guererro and Dolph Ziggler interrupt. But the hot Houston crowd will not let Vickie speak. Cena plays along but it gets a little silly after three minutes. Vickie wants an apology from Lawler for fat jokes. Which just leads to Cena and the King trading even more crappy fat jokes about a woman who barely looks fat any more. E-GM books Cena to face Ziggler – right now!
A surprisingly pro-Cena crowd cheers him on as he takes on the Intercontinental Champion. It’s a decent match for TV. Dolph taps to the STF, but Vickie has the ref distracted. That lets Ziggler recover and actually hit a Zig Zag, but that’s not enough for the pin. Cena’s Attitude Adjustment is enough to hold down the kid. Then CM Punk hits Cena with a chair and storms off. Is he recovered now? Sheamus and Lawler play duelling kings. Dolph wants Cena on Smackdown tomorrow, but Vickie inserts herself to make it a handicap match… Because I really want to see Vickie wrestle when she seems so unwilling to take a bump.
Miz now carries his title in a briefcase, which Reilly carries, so he’s not still lugging the old Money in the Bank briefcase around but still has a handy weapon to interfere with. We went from a two man announce team with no Cole at the start of the night to just Cole for the main event. Talk about a reversal of fortunes. Oh no, Josh Matthews just joined Cole. So we’re reuniting the announce team of NXT Season 3? Brilliant.
It’s a long match and Morrison gets beat on by the heels for most of it. Orton gets in against The Miz. It breaks down and Lawler winds up legal, but Orton sneaks in and lands The Miz with an RKO and Lawler gets a pin on the WWE Champion. Celebrations are cut off by the E-GM plugging Smackdown. He adds an Orton v. Miz match for the show. Now we Canadians don’t get to see the show early so I won’t be recapping it until next week if at all.
Tonight’s RAW didn’t advance many storylines. With the Royal Rumble not until late January we’re going to need some filler before the drive to that show can begin in earnest. Hence John Morrison and Melina getting title shots. I expect both those shots to be resolved before the Rumble itself. What does the Rumble have in store? Who knows?
After RAW I saw the PPV. It was pretty decent and exciting given how safe WWE tries to work these days. The opening ladder match was a great start. John Morrison continued to break out as a future star. Edge cemented a place in the Hall of Fame if he can just stay on Vince’s good side, or by then Hunter and Steph’s. The Miz continued as the second coming of the Honky Tonk Man with his cheap tactics. The Smackdown main event benefited from adding Rey Rey and Del Rio. The women’s table match was okay. If I had been footing the bill for the replay I might have thought differently but I had a good time overall.
That brings us to NXT, the next show to air in Canada. We get the wheelbarrow challenge again tonight. This time the Soaring Eagle gets to be the passenger. The second competition is trivia. But the trivia is actually really intelligently designed this week. Striker gives a category (former WWE champions, 2010 PPVs) and the rookies have to name something that fits. When they screw up they are gone. No stupid air horns vastly improves this. Derrick Bateman wins both challenges for a total of 3 immunity points. Even the wrestling is pretty good this week. The vignettes between rookie and pro are entertaining. Add in the decent announce team of Todd Grisham and Josh Matthews and this shows is better than its been since season one. I guess the show really only became a joke because WWE treats Women’s Wrestling as a joke.
Loyal readers I am off for the holidays and will have no wrestling access until the 28th. I’m not sure I’ll be able to cover all the shows I miss when I get back but don’t worry, the column will continue before the New Year! For those who have something to celebrate these days (what with Hanukkah being well over) I wish you happy holidays!