TV Review: Monday Night Raw 11.26.12

michael dworkis gets raw…

Ryback defeats Titus O’Neal to start RAW

Well, that was an interesting start to the show, Ryback, once again ticked off at being screwed out of the WWE title, mauled Titus O’Neal, another young star who I see bright things for. Look, he keeps plowing through the competition, without taking the belt just yet. While this might seem like a bad idea to keep Ryback from the belt, you have to think long term. When monsters like Goldberg and Batista finally got the title, there was nothing left for them to do. Either keep winning, or inevitably, lose. In the case of Goldberg, WCW was dumb enough to try and “reboot” him, by having him go through everyone without losing, trying to recapture the magic of being undefeated. Well, it did not work. Bad ideas only spawn worse results. Anyway, Vickie gave Ryback what he wants, a Tables Ladders and Chairs match with punk at the upcoming pay-per-view, Tables Ladders and Chairs. Ryback scared the security guards for fun.

Alberto del Rio vs. The Great Khali
Doing any commentary for this match would be an offense I could get arrested for. Why Khali is in the ring with Del Rio is beyond me. Whatever, Khali hits punches, chops, kicks, and then Rio comes back with signature arm-breakers followed by his submission arm-bar.
Winner with many thanks: Alberto del Rio

This match took place because of a backstage altercation between Hornswoggle, Rosa Mendes, Alberto, and Khali. No, Ron Simmons did not pop out to say DAMN.

Heyman and Punk confronts Vickie about her decision for the TLC match. Funny moment where they nearly forget the names of the NXT guys who cost Ryback the title at Survivor Series. Tonight, Punk will face either Daniel Bryan or Kane, voted on by the WWE Universe.

Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns speak out
Rollins was formerly Tyler Black in Ring of Honor. Roman Reigns is Joe Anoa’I, the son of Sika the Wild Samoan, and cousin to Rikishi. Ambrose was in CZW and competed in Dragon’s Gate Japan (as John Moxley). Wearing what appears to be vests worn by the Big Boss Man during his Attitude Era run, they begin with denying any involvement with CM Punk. They say they are here to enforce honor in a place where there is none. By allowing WWE to cater to the WWE Universe, it becomes an unfair popularity contest. They are the Shield of Injustice… wait for it… they are The Shield. Hooray! They have a gimmicky name! They are here to get noticed and to make an impact. End of story.

Well, great. Another trio stable. I am noticing a trend going on… 3MB, The Shield, what is next The New Demolition? Maybe they will resurrect the Six-Man Tag Titles too. I saw these young guns compete on the indy circuit and on NXT. This is Monday Night Raw, give them a few matches and we will see if the hype is worth it.

Promo for Fandango. “Watch my lead, and watch your step.” Uhm… Okay…

Tamina Snuka vs. Alicia Fox
Ooh, a Diva Match! #sarcasm. Snuka gives a pre-match warning to AJ about getting in Vickie’s face again. Yawn. I assume Tamina dominated the whole match. I was in the bathroom.
Winner: Tamina

John Cena Addresses the AJ Situation
Another meh segment, with some funny words by Cena, but ultimately this furthered the on-going storyline between Cena and Ziggler. In hindsight, I probably should not complain, since Diva-based feuds at time produced excellent matches, for example, Jericho vs. Christian at WrestleMania 20. The altercation promises us Cena vs. Ziggler, tonight.

Hmm… at that ‘Mania, Trish turned on Jericho to side with Christian. Maybe AJ will turn on Cena and align with Ziggles?

Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Tensai (non-title)
Well, Wade Barrett is at ringside, as he will face Kingston at TLC for the Intercontinental Title. This PPV is coming fast, so the matches are being made just as quickly. This match was just filler and served to push Kofi over another “major opponent” in Tensai. Really? The guy has been on a losing streak for three months. Maybe he beat Zack Ryder.
Winner: Kofi via Bodysplash

Post-match, Barrett hands Kofi the IC title, and walks away smirking. I would rather see Barrett with the World Title, honestly.

Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio
Well, he lost the fan vote to face Punk, which again makes me question the honestly of WWE creative. How could you not want to see Punk and Bryan in a match?! How?! I love how he comes down to ringside, shredding antagonizing signs. Classic 80’s heel. Love it. Rey comes down to the usual silence sans six-year-olds cheering. Great altercations during the first minutes, Rey missing a dive off the apron, and Bryan capitalizes with a diving knee strike. Another good exchange, Rey attempts a top rope move, but Bryan hangs him upside down in a Tree of Woe. Bryan then batters Rey with numerous kicks and a diving dropkick in the corner. Rey fights back, and sets up Bryan for the 619, but the grappler counters but fails to lock in the No-Lock. Rey overcomes the odds, sending Bryan into the ringpost and hitting the 619. Rey hits a top rope splash, and picks up the win.
Winner in finally a good match tonight: Rey Mysterio

Sadly, I see a bad element entering the comedy duo of Team Hell No. Cole constantly reminded us that the fan vote clearly shows that Bryan is the least favorite of the team. I really hope they ease up a bit, and do not overkill the gimmick. For a while I was worried it would run stale, but then it rebounded. I hope not to worry again.

Backstage, Rosa Mendes thanks Alberto del Rio, and the Mexican Aristocrat winks and says “anytime you need me.”

Backstage, Josh Matthews talks to Ziggler about facing off with Cena. Ziggler, truly showing why he is the main eventer, cuts a great promo on Cena. Yes, I am on Team Ziggler.

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
This, was a great match. Sure, there were plenty of “seen that before” moments, but overall a very good match. Ziggler and Cena both showed some great ring chemistry. Ziggler dominated the over 10-minute match, with only a few Cena comebacks, which this time, did not result in the predictable Cena-Comeback we are all accustomed to. An awkward moment came when Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment and Ziggler tried to counter, but landed strangely on the mat. He rebounded and scored with his finisher, but Cena kicked out. Cena recoups and sets up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but seems to have a problem with his knee and goes to the outside to get checked by a trainer. During this delay, Ziggler removes a turnbuckle pad. AJ then runs out to stop him, and out comes Vickie. AJ stares her away, while Ziggler tries to clobber Cena with the Money in the Bank briefcase while the ref is busy with the women. The Show-Off misses, Cena scores with the AA, and gets the three count.
Winner by Pinfall: John Cena

Ugh. It is not the fact that Cena won which bothers me, it is HOW he did it. However, I understand it still protects Ziggler since it was not a clean victory. Cena gets a post-match smooch from AJ.

Sheamus vs. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro (non-title)
Another great match. Quality time given to Cesaro to show off what he can do in a main event situation. Although Sheamus was the clear dominator during the match, Cesaro showed off plenty and hit some pretty innovative moves on the Celtic Warrior. There were moments where Cesaro seemed to be ready for the win, but we all knew it was not happening. Cesaro attempted the Neutralizer after a European Uppercut, but Sheamus powered out with a back-bodydrop. Sheamus and Cesaro collide, and Cesaro takes a hard fall to the outside. Big Show comes out taunting Sheamus with a chair, as the referee counts out Cesaro. A strange finish to the match, but protecting Cesaro by not losing by pinfall or submission.
Winner by Count Out: Sheamus

Post match, Big Show breaks his chair.

Damien Sandow defeated Zack Ryder
While it is nice to see Ryder in the ring, it is not-so-nice to know he is going to be latest victim of the Intellectual Savior of the Masses. I would have been surprised if I was wrong, except Ryder predictably lost. Michael Cole announced that Sandow would face John Cena this Wednesday night on Main Event. Wow. Nice push for Genius 2.0! I love this guy.

Before we get to the main event, we get a recap of The Shield. The new stable, not the television show.

Kane vs. WWE Champion CM Punk (non-title)
Well, this match was not as good. It was slow paced, and too many pauses in the action. Punk and Kane just did not gel well together in the ring. Nothing memorable, until Punk hit Kane with the Go-To-Sleep and gets the win. Quickly, The Shield strikes on Kane, beating him down until Daniel Bryan tries to make a save, but ultimately gets taken down also. Ryback then rushes out and destroys the trio. Punk then attacks, but Ryback shrugs him off. The monster goes for a power-bomb, but Reigns spears Ryback, saving Punk. The trip regroup and Ryback is out of commission. Are they loyal to Punk, or was this just fighting against more injustice towards the WWE Champion?
Winner via Pinfall: CM Punk

WWE is showing great strides with bringing up new, not necessarily young talent. Cena is becoming more injury prone by the year, and he may soon go the way of Edge if he does not take better care of himself. While I want WWE to continue this trend of building up new talent, this talent needs to be pushed fast to get attention. Prime Time Players need those tag belts. Get the IC title on Sandow. Get The Shield into some main event situations. A lot of young talent pushed tonight, and while some came out losers, did not look like protégé’s of Barry Horowitz.

The show began slow, but as the night progressed, the action picked up, strongly. The new talent looking better and better, with the veterans giving great support in the ring. Guys like Ziggler, Sandow, and O’Neal really will be future stars in WWE. Barrett has been around a while and enjoyed some title runs, but not yet ready for one of the big two titles. He will, soon. They all will.