Recap: Monday Night Raw 1/8/13

do you smell what michael dworkis is cooking?

Happy New Year everyone, and he we are, the long-awaited and highly-anticipated first Monday Night Raw of 2013. We get right to it with John Cena, opening the show. He talks about tonight and how we may see a new WWE Champion. Tonight, we see the return of The Rock, and at the Royal Rumble, we begin the Road to WrestleMania, where Cena intends on facing off in the main event. Cue Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, and Big E. Langston who express some heartfelt emotions about having feces dumped on them at the end of Raw last week. By heartfelt, I mean they are pretty ticked off. Funny moment where Cena just decides to get the crowd to do the wave. Pretty funny. Cena challenges Ziggler to a match, but for the first time, Big E. speaks on Raw and we may see the big man wrestle, but instead we get Cena vs. Ziggler to kick off Raw.

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler

Color me impressed. Of course Ziggler impresses, but Cena held his own in the match also. The two trade some of their usual moves, and then Cena hits a suplex! A suplex! Cena hammers away at Ziggler, but then Ziggler out of nowhere connects with a body splash and a near-fall. Ziggler goes for his high dropkick, but Cena counters and slingshots Ziggler, who connects with the ringpost and flops everywhere. Ziggler can sell. Boy can he sell. Reminds me of a few people actually. Cena and Ziggler in a submission situation where somehow Cena has Ziggler, or the other way around, I could not tell, but it looks pretty damn good when they countered each other. AJ and Big E. get involved, and wind up getting ejected from ringside. Ziggler, furious turns it up, only to get leveled by two Cena Shoulderblocks, and is nearly hit with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but he surprises Cena with the Zig Zag! The Show Off only gets a two count, but damn did that look good. Ziggler slides forward with a superkick, but Cena evades and trips up Ziggles to lock in the STF but he turns right around, spiking Cena with a DDT. During a back-and-forth altercation, the ref gets clobbered, allowing Big E. to return and lay out Cena. A second ref runs down, clearly not seeing the interference and makes the count, but Cena kicks out. Ziggler is furious but his rage blinds him as Cena plants The Show Off with the Attitude Adjustment and gets the three-count pinfall.
Winner by Pinfall: John Cena

Not a bad way to start, this was a main event quality match. Could we see Cena vs. Ziggler at WrestleMania?

Kaitlyn defeated Eve Torres by Count Out

The match starts off great, they are actually wrestling. Finally, someone remembered what female wrestling is supposed to be like. Sadly, it does not go more than five minutes, when Eve bails and Kaitlyn picks up a count-out victory. The plus side is that they are pushing Kaitlyn, who will likely take the Divas title from Eve in the future to much fanfare.

Backstage, Santino Marella is talking with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Okay, this is interesting. He talks about the Cobra and The Dragon teaming up… oh hell. Thankfully this near-disaster of a segment is interrupted by Wade Barrett. We are getting Santino vs. Barrett tonight, and Steamboat says he will back up the Milan Miracle. Uh oh.

Backstage an interview with Randy Orton is interrupted by 3MB. Orton challenges Slater to a match. Joy. Not sure if this will be worse than Barrett/Santino later.

Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (non-title match)

Finally we get another match with the two best tag teams in WWE. Kane and Bryan, thankfully have dropped the bickering duo gimmick and still work together bashing the brains in of all their opponents, even if a lot of it is still comedy. This week however, they got pushed to the limit. Kane and Bryan dominated early on, isolating their opponents, and for a time it looked like there was no possible way for Sandow and Rhodes to have a chance, until the devious intellectually sound duo found and opening and pulled their resources to isolate Bryan, keeping the Big Red Monster away. Rhodes keeps Bryan in the corner, beating him down with thrust kicks and corner smashes. A tag in to Sandow who scores the Elbow of Disdain, but his gloating is the downfall as Bryan makes a hot tag to Kane. The Machine goes to town on everyone, and targets Sandow for the Chokeslam. Sandow bails to the floor, but Kane tags back out to Bryan who levels Sandow with a running knee to the head. Back in the ring Bryan mauls Sandow with his kicks of fury, and then seems to botch a flip, which Rhodes targets once he gets a hot tag from Sandow. Bryan fights back while Sandow keeps Kane busy. Rhodes seizes a moment of weakness and spikes Bryan with Crossroads to pick up the win.
Winners by Pinfall: The Rhodes Scholars

Once again, a solid match with these four, and I certainly see the almighty Tag Team Championship match in the near future. Should Hell No lose, I wonder if that will be the end of that team, or will they stick together?

Randy Orton beats Health Slater and 3MB
Oh let’s face it. Orton beats up all three jobbers. For some reason mid-match we get a superplex, maybe just to make it look like Slater is a tough guy, but everyone eats the cereal called RK-Ohs. Boring. Where is your heel turn Orton? WHERE IS IT?!?!

Wade Barrett retains the Intercontinental Championship against Santino Marella
Did I need to type that whole thing out? No, but I did anyway. Bad match, stupid repeated spots we have seen from Santino for a year. Only worthwhile scene was a possible confrontation between Ricky Steamboat and Barrett. Now that is a match I would PAY to VIEW… hint hint.

Backstage, an interview with Sheamus is interrupted by 3MB. Oh for the love of… Sheamus starts singing Danny Boy… let me guess, Sheamus vs. 3MB later. Great. Another waste.

Antonio Cesaro retains the United States Championship against The Great Khali
Why or how is this match on Raw? Basically a repeat of their match from Main Event last week. Miz is at commentary, I am guessing because he will be the next challenger to Cesaro. Speaking of whom, he just hit The Neutralizer on Khali to end this travesty.

Backstage, Brad Maddox approached Heyman with an idea. Let him referee the TLC match tonight. Uhm, Brad. The belt is suspended above the ring… there is no need for a ref. Idiot.

Sheamus defeated Jinder Mahal in a Bad Comedy Match
No, that is not what the match was billed as, but it should have been. I have nothing more to add. Seriously, what the hell is going on here. Is this part of building up Sheamus vs. Orton? Is 3MB truly here as the new trio of jobbers in WWE. This is sad, ridiculous, and worse, eats up TV time.

Thank you WWE, we are finally getting CM Punk vs. Ryback!!!
Punk is out first, and commentators point out how he walks under the ladders. Uh oh… OOOOOH. Bad luck. Punk lobs a chair into the ring. Where is the popcorn? The Goldberg chants begin as he… uh, I mean Ryback makes his way down. The bell rings, and Ryback MAULS Punk like a bear on a campground. Punk runs, but Ryback gets him again. Punk starts swinging chairs, but the hungry man shrugs it off and again pummels Punk. The crowd is hot. Holy cow. Ryback takes Punk up high with a suplex, and drops the champion on a ladder! Punk rolls back to the floor to regroup, but Ryback is right behind him… Picking up the steel stairs! He charges, but Punk gets away and somehow rushes the stairs, hitting Ryback in the face with a high knee strike! Punk, grabs his weapon of choice, the chair, and clobbers Ryback over and over. We see during the break, they both went to climb the ladder, but obviously neither was successful. That would be funny one day, to come back from commercial, and oops! The match ended while you were watching Doritos commercials. Back in the ring, Punk slows the big man down with knee strikes and leg holds. On the outside, Punk goes for wood, but Ryback, out of nowhere hurls Punk clear over the announce table. Punk tries to take out the ankle of Ryback, but the behemoth powers back and levels Punk. It looks like the bad knee of Punk is getting to him and Ryback goes to work. After scoring a huge spinbuster, Ryback nearly decapitates Punk with the Meathook Clothesline. Ryback sets up for Shell Shocked, but Punk escapes and slithers to the arena floor. Ryback rushes after, goes for a spear but winds up eating table! Punk dashes back in the ring and climbs the ladder towards the title! Ryback recovers and ascends as well. The action picks up as both men brawl up top, and Ryback decks Punk, sending him crashing to the floor. As Ryback reaches the gold, Punk pushes the ladder down, but Ryback lands on his feet! Punk tries to attack, but Ryback hurls him over the top rope and to the outside. Ryback goes up the ladder and…

The lights go out!??! What the hell?

Lights back on and The Shield are on top of the ladder with Ryback! He fights them off, but they keep coming back like bad body odor. Inevitably, the trio overmatch Ryback, wailing on him with chairs, and then finally the Triple Powerbomb through a table. Punk struggles, but makes it to the top of the ladder, pulling down his coveted WWE Championship. Wow. The boos are loud, I cannot even hear the commentators.
Winner and Still WWE Champion: CM PUNK

Look, it was a good match. While the outcome sucked, you have to keep in mind this would have likely been the way the TLC PPV would have ended had the match taken place when it was supposed to. This only furthers the storyline that The Shield is in league with Punk, but also sets up the match of the year, CM Punk vs. The Rock.

Backstage Punk and Heyman gloat about their clean win over Ryback. He can’t wait to go face-to-face with The Rock. Also backstage trainers work on Daniel Bryan. Kane comes in and asks about his recovery, and they start arguing over whose fault it was losing the match. Great. Just when I thought that gimmick was over. Vickie Guerrero comes in (why?) and says next week is their evaluation with Dr. Shelby. While that stuff was funny, it had its moment, now they are going back to it? I hope with good reason. Maybe Dr. Shelby is secretly working for The Rhodes Scholars.

The Big Show beats Kofi Kingston
Bell rings. WMD knockout punk. Ref counts three. Have a nice day. Kofi… champion to chump in 18 seconds? Has that ever happened before?

CM Punk rips on EVERYONE

It took me a while to even think about how to type this one up. Punk goes to his playbook of speaking the truth, saying what everyone thinks. He goes right for the jugular, naming Brodus Clay as a monster of a wrestler stuck with a stupid dancing fool gimmick. How Little Jimmy is more over that the talented Tyson Kidd (interesting how he defends current babyfaces). He says the Hulk Hogan is nothing compared to the superstars of today. He never competed in any match as brutal as Tables Ladders and Chairs. My favorite line, is if Punk was around during the days of the legendary Bruno Sammartino, then he too could have been WWE Champion for about 20 years, and that got some cheers from the crowd too. While Punk does rip WWE good, he does turn back to heel-mode and rips on the fans for being the cause of bad gimmicks and lame WWE creative decisions. While running down the crowd, the WWE Universe, the cameraman, and ring crew, he is interrupted by… The Rock.

The Great One opens up with the number 20. Meaning, 20 days, times up says the Brahma Bull. Rock calls Punk delusional. Funny. Rock admits that what Punk has done is rightfully respectable and incredible to have held the title for 414 days, but that time will soon be up at The Royal Rumble. Punk and Rock trade some good one liners. The closer came from The Rock, saying how during the time Punk tried instigating revolution, he could not even bring the ice cream bars back. Funny stuff.

Well, the opening salvo was good and leaves us wanting more. With only 20 days, shy of three weeks, it does not leave us much time to get some more verbal altercations between the two competitors. I just cannot make a prediction right now. Think about this:

Rock beats Punk, wins title. Cena wins Rumble = We know the Mania Main Event. = Boo.
Punk beats Rock when Cena interferes, costing Rock the title. Rock then somehow eliminates Cena from the Rumble. = Rock vs. Cena rematch, no title match = YES.
Maybe Rock loses to Punk, and Rock enters himself in the Rumble? Maybe Punk loses and he enters himself in the Rumble? Would not be the first time that happened. Does Kurt Angle ring a bell?

See you next week folks!

all photos credit: wwe