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Wrestling is Serious Business
January 12, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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Vacuuming is my least favorite household chore. I mean, I hate all household chores (who doesn’t?), but vacuuming is the worst. Not only is there no shortcut—since the ownership of a dishwasher pretty much cancels that chore entirely—but because I’m highly allergic to basically everything under the sun. I have one of those vacuums that’s bagless, so to empty it, I just dump the little plastic container thingy in the trash.

Which then results in me sneezing my face off for about an hour. No really, an hour… Whenever I vacuum, I have to open all the windows, then generally leave the apartment when I’m done for at least 30 minutes while all that crap works itself out of the place. If I don’t—and sometimes, even if I do—my eyes water and get puffy, my sinuses start hurting under my skin, and I generally hate life while it lasts. Not helping matters is all the cat hair in my apartment, but I think I’ve finally got the last of it out of here.


Luckily, this is a good day for it. Because I have to open the windows, I usually can’t vacuum in the winter. Thanks to the 50-degree day however (despite being in the middle of freaking January) has let me do so. I’m breathing better now that the crap is out of my carpet, but it’s a nasal hell getting there.

And breathing easier means I can concentrate on RAW tonight, where we’ve got the super-special 20th anniversary show coming. Let’s do it…

Opening: They do an extended opening theme song/video, which is just a chronological mashup of all the opening songs/videos in the whole RAW history. Neat!

Segment 1: …And we’re opening with Vince McMahon, wearing a very nice suit! Fancy! And given that this is the 20th anniversary, it’s only appropriate.

Vince runs down how awesome the show is, and that it’s happened because Vince is “a certifiable genius.” Oh, and that we’re awesome fans for watching it. I’m honestly not sure if he’s kidding.

He runs down a list of what’s happening tonight, hopes we’ll enjoy it, and… is then interrupted by Big Show. You don’t interrupt the boss, damnit!

Show isn’t in a partying mood, so he wants to address the travesty of what happened on SmackDown. But Vince says that as much as things may have changed on RAW over 20 years, some things haven’t: He doesn’t like being interrupted, and he doesn’t like being told what to do. Show tries again but Vince has a different topic he wants to discuss: “It looks like you’ve lost some weight!” Show is happy that Vince noticed that Show has cut out the carbs… but no, Vince was referring to the loss of the World Heavyweight Title. Ha!

We get a replay of the ending of SmackDown, and during that I hear that we’ve got JBL joining Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole for some reason. Back from that, Show—who keeps calling him “Vince”—says that that was so totally a travesty because he wasn’t ready for that match! He also pauses his rant to bitch at the fans for booing him. He concludes that his ironclad contract “makes Booker T and everyone else in this country inferior to me,” and that Books just made the match because he’s so totally jealous of Show’s awesomeness.

Show suggests that the best way to handle the whole situation is to just strip Alberto Del Rio of his newly won title, since Show is WWE’s most precious commodity. Weird.

Well, here comes… Well, it’s Ricardo Rodriguez, who then announces ADR. ADR says that for being a “giant,” Big Show is a pussy. Show was all big and tough when he was smacking around Ricardo after all, but when someone picks on him, he’s just a crying baby. So instead of whining to Vince about this crap, why don’t they have a title rematch tonight? The fans start chanting “Si! Si! Si!,” but Show says no.

But this is the point, Show says: he wasn’t ready for the title match last week, and he’s not ready for a title match this week either. He’s wearing a custom-made suit, after all! ADR doesn’t buy it: he even admits that Show is stronger than ADR, so why doesn’t he show some cajones?

Show dismisses that: he’s not going to waste his automatic championship rematch tonight, he’s going to do it on his own terms. So he’s sure as hell not going to perform for the title in front of these jerks in Houston; he wants to do it at Royal Rumble. That way, no one is going to talk about CM Punk/The Rock, or the 30-man Royal Rumble match itself, they’re going to talk about him. And he’s totally going to knock out ADR and take the title back.

ADR laughs that off, then calls him something in Spanish. Show wants a translation, so ADR helpfully provides it: “Fat jackass!” But don’t be too upset, because Ricardo and ADR have a present for Show! Ricardo grabs some sort of bucket and starts swirling it with the most innocent, happy grin I’ve ever seen any WWE employee ever produce in my life. He’s apparently living his dream by holding that bucket.

Show has seen the show before and knows how this usually goes down. “Ricardo, I’m telling you right now, if you throw water on my suit, I’m going to break your spine in half.”

Well, Show isn’t Bane, and Ricardo sure as hell isn’t Batman, so he goes and ahead and does it anyway. But it’s not water, it’s confetti! Show is pissed anyway and goes after him, but ADR attacks Show. A little back-and-forth later, we get an improbable huracanrana, and Show is sent out of the ring. Hooray moral victory, but still no match tonight between these two, I suppose.
[Ed. Note: I continue to be impressed at how well Alberto plays the babyface. If I'm WWE, I start trying to come up with merchandise for him. And I start with replica scarfs. A new color every 3 months! Smell the money!]

Cut Scene: Looks like RAW is going to be interspersed with RAW memories. This first one is of Bob Barker’s guest hosting. I won’t recap any more of these; you probably don’t care.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Wade Barrett defeats Randy Orton by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Barrett didn’t get an entrance, so this was a fairly surprising win, but no high spots to talk about. The match ended with a Bullhammer Elbow and a clean pin. Definitely an upset.

Segment 3: Eve is walking through the halls in her ring gear, and Booker T arrives with Teddy Long. Apparently Eve is going to be taking on Kaitlyn again tonight in a title rematch from SmackDown, which if you remember, ended with Eve’s intentional countout. So if Eve even thinks about getting counted out or DQed tonight, she’s stripped of the title.

Eve panics for a moment, then starts gingerly touching Booker T’s chest as she says there must be something she can do for him to change his mind. Booker takes his glasses off sensually… then starts laughing in her face. Teddy Long was laughing too, and Eve wants to know why… but then slaps T-Long in the face before he can fully answer. So then Booker starts laughing at him. Heh.

Segment 4: Pre-taped segment with Team Friendship in an office. They discuss that neither of them want to deal with Dr. Shelby again, so Daniel Bryan suggests that they simply lie during Shelby’s questions. They’ll just say whatever Shelby wants to hear, he’ll leave, and that’ll be that. Kane is down with that and shakes his hand.

And then Shelby comes in to catch them in mid-handshake. Shelby gushes about how far along they’ve come, so he gets them all into a group hug. Kane looks like he’s trying not to laugh, which somehow makes the whole visual more awesome.

All three sit, and DB explains they’re both past their anger, so they’re cool! Let’s just leave! And Shelby says this won’t take long, he just has a single follow-up question for both of them. DB sighs, but tells him to go ahead. Shelby asks DB: “What’s your favorite part about Kane?”

DB answers that he likes Kane’s height, and his magical ability to “set things on fire by lowering his arms, somehow,” which Kane accompanies with a Ricardo-like grin and nod. Awesome. DB also likes Kane’s, uh, dancing ability. As Shelby looks down to make notes, Kane and DB exchange a “What the hell was that?” “I don’t know!” set of Broad Gestures.

Shelby is fine with DB’s answer, so he asks the reverse question to Kane. Kane says that he likes DB’s ferocity in the ring, and his great beard… and he’s not afraid to admit he sometimes wears women’s clothing!

Well, that offends DB, but he manages to withhold his punches or anything crazy. Shelby is fine with all of that, but he wants to try “one more thing.” He grabs a phone and calls someone to send something into the room. Hm…

It’s Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes! They’re going to “cause a trigger for their anger” to see how they’ll react. Sandow immediately says that “it’s systematic desensitization, a technique made famous by Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov, you’re welcome.” Ha! Shelby’s face made that line.

Shelby explains that Cody and Sandow will intentionally antagonize them, and they need to let their angry feelings wash away so they remain in their “happy place.” This… this segment is just swell.

But instead, Cody and Damien start critiquing Shelby, who starts to get angry. Cody wonders what the bigger failure is: how Team Friendship acts as a team, or Dr. Shelby as a therapist. Sandow wonders whether he even got his degree from an accredited institution. Hell, they’d get better advice from Dr. Phil!

Shelby loses his shit, then screams “Get them!” Kane and DB are cool with that, so they kick some ass, with DB even stealing Cody’s coat as he runs off. Kane screams at the top of his lungs “That’s what I call a happy place!” DB starts chanting “Yes!” Shelby and Kane get involved with the chant, with Kane headbanging as he does so. Awesome. Pure entertainment!

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Kane (w/ Daniel Bryan) defeats Damien Sandow (w/ Cody Rhodes) by pin. Decent match, nothing special, basically an extended reverse squash. Sandow was able to hit the Elbow of Distain, but eventually ate the chokeslam and took the pin clean. No interference or wackiness from either side.

Segment 6: Time for the first inductee to WWE Hall of Fame for 2013, and he’s coming to the ring now… It’s Mick Foley!

Foley hits the ring to a massive standing ovation. He gets in the ring, hits his cheap pop, and… uh, and here comes The Shield?

They’re making a full entrance from the top row, then surround the ring. Foley drops the mic and gets ready to fight, even taunting them, which seems stupid.

And then here comes Ryback, so Shield just ignores Foley. Ryback gets in the ring, gets jumped, but gets a moment of an advantage. He soon loses to the numbers, but then Randy Orton hits the ring. Then he starts to lose to the numbers, but then Sheamus hits the ring. With an even fight, the faces take advantage. Foley bailed at some point, but we at least see Dean Ambrose eating a Shellshock.

We see a bunch of replays, and then Josh Mathews arrives to interview Ryback only. Ryback blathers, mainly insulting CM Punk, and that he gives no shit about conspiracy theories. Ryback hits a nonsensical punch line: “I will not rest until I give back to The Shield what they have taken from me.” So… Ryback wants to give them the WWE Championship?

I’m kidding. I know what he was going for, but it totally fell apart at the end there. Even the live fans (most of them anyway) couldn’t be bothered to cheer for that silliness. But as Ryback starts chanting “Feed. Me. Shield.,” the crowd stops caring and gets back to cheering for him.

Segment 7 [Singles Match for the Divas Title Match without the champion’s advantage]: Kaitlyn defeats Eve by pin, and is the new WWE Divas Champion! Some dumbass held up a sign during the entrances that read “Restroom Break.” Stupid, and thankfully inaccurate. In fact, so far, this was match of the night.

Solid match and the perfect length, the opening was Kaitlyn’s rage and Eve’s chickenshit tactics. Eve eventually got the advantage, but Kaitlyn kept countering out of big moves when she could, or kicking out when she couldn’t. It was all head-targeted offense, with Eve trying a variety of DDTs that just couldn’t do the job. Eventually Eve got sloppy, and Kaitlyn hit her Hybrid Drop out of nowhere.

However, Eve landed near the south ropes, so she bailed. Kaitlyn followed stupidly; Cole said something about “She doesn’t want to win that way!,” but that’s a dumb excuse. Anyway, Kaitlyn followed, but Eve was ready, so Eve threw her into the corner barricade. Eve then took an extra second to dump Eve’s body over the barricade so she was next to the timekeeper, then smiled as she jauntily sauntered back to the ring.

But Kaitlyn wasn’t down for long. She quickly hopped up and ran around the barricade, then reentered the ring from the east side as Eve entered from the south. Eve, still happy and without any clue what was going on, told the ref to start counting Kaitlyn out. Ref was all, “What are you talking about?,” and as Eve turned to yell at him, Kaitlyn absolutely blasted Eve with a Spear. Eve sold it fantastically, almost overselling it but not quite, landing on her neck and looking for all the world like Kaitlyn just rearranged her ribcage. Eve wasn’t getting up from that, and she took the pin clean.

Segment 8: Mathews interviews Brodus Clay. First, we get a replay of CM Punk’s promo from last week, and Clay responds that he doesn’t “shuck and jive because he has to; it’s because it was what he was born to do!” So Punk is about to find out that his pipe bomb is going to blow up in his face. Brodus runs out, the fans cheer, and we get commercials.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) defeats Brodus Clay (w/ the Funkadactyls) by submission. Solid match, no real high spots. Clay didn’t have much offense; this was the Punk show, and he ended the match with the Macho Man Elbow followed by the Anaconda Vise.

Post-Segment 9: And Punk wants to talk now! He says that he came out here to do what he always does: kicks ass every week. Later, The Rock is going to come out and “do whatever it is that he does.” Punk then steals a line from Mitt Romney (or his speech writer) and says that we may think one or the other is more entertaining, and we’re entitled to our own opinion, but we’re not entitled to our own facts. And the fact is, Punk just made a 400-pound monster tap out. And fact: he’s got professional wrestling’s most valuable title, and he’s had it for 421 days!

And The Rock will come out and entertain (“maybe”), but it will also be fact that Rock will not leave Royal Rumble as WWE Champion, because Punk is the best in the world! And that’s a fact!

Now that promo had the punch I was looking for on SmackDown! And Punk is amped after making it for some reason, possibly because he’s got a fairly large pro-Punk chunk of the crowd.

Segment 10: Mick Foley is talking to someone in the back on the phone, and then The Rock arrives. Foley wants to shake hands… Rock acts pissed that Foley would have the audacity to think Rock would walk all the way across the whole arena to give him a handshake! …And then Rock hugs him. Aw.

Foley says he’s happy that he’s finally a Hall of Famer, and finally people recognize his accomplishments. Rock takes the hint, hits the “Finally!” line, and even lets Foley sing along. Then Rock starts in with the “jabroni-beating, pie-eating” thing, and Foley starts to sing along to that, but Rock gives a quick stage whisper: “No man, I like doing this part by myself.” Cute.

And then Vickie Guerrero arrives to tell them to shut the hell up, because they’re just way too loud since she’s trying to run the show. They’re talking so loud, she can’t hear herself think! It’s not Rock’s show, and not Foley’s show, but her show. Some fan brilliantly screams “It doesn’t matter whose show it is!”

Rock’s staying quiet though. Vickie directly tells Foley that WWE should have been like Major League Baseball and not elect anyone to the Hall of Fame, if they’re going to stick Foley in there of all people. So keep quiet, already! She then, uh, makes the mistake if Rock has anything to say to her.

Rock says he had nothing to say to her, so she leaves. Foley is surprised: since when does The Rock not have anything to say to anyone? Rock starts to say, “Don’t worry, Mick. If you trust me—” Mick cuts him off: “You Rock Bottomed me last year.” Rock quickly says “Nobody remembers that.” Ha, awesome little improv there. Rock finishes that Foley needs to trust him, because he’ll say what he needs to say during his Rock concert tonight!

Segment 11 [1-on-3 Handicap Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge]: 3MB eliminates Sheamus. Silly match, nothing special, but an unexpected win. Of course, it wasn’t clean…

Early bits saw Sheamus getting his arse kicked thanks to the numbers, but he eventually tossed Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre. He tried to end Heath Slater by giving him a Brogue Kick that would have sent him over the top, but Slater dodged, and Sheamus fell over the top rope to the apron. Slater tried to push Sheamus off, but Sheamus resisted. However, Drew and Jinder ran around the ring and helped out, and Sheamus couldn’t deal with it. No DQs here, so Sheamus hit the floor and lost.

Post-Segment 11: Sheamus is not cool with 3MB breaking the spirit (if not the rules) of the match. During their celebration (which involved Drew rather intensely humping his air guitar), Sheamus pulled Jinder out of the ring, then slid in and stared down the other two. By this point, Slater was riding on Drew’s shoulders, so they looked at Sheamus knowing there were a bit defenseless. Sheamus kicked Drew’s hammy, making him fall to one knee, then Brogue Kicked Slater. Drew got up instantly, but ate a Brogue Kick of his own.

Segment 12: Mathews interviews John Cena, who says… a bunch of stupid crap. It’s entertaining, I’m sure, if you’re a Cena fan and like his wacky, over-the-top, over-intense promos, but I’m not buying it.

Segment 13: Here comes The Miz to the stage, who says there’s a very special guest for his The Miz TV segment. Except, uh, I guess it’s going to happen after the commercials. Oh wait, I guess it’s going to be Ric Flair, since Miz is wooing and strutting. Whatever.

Segment 14: This seems to be a legit interview at first, with Miz asking Flair what his favorite memory of RAW was, with Flair saying that it was the night after WrestleMania when he was retired by Shawn Michaels.

Then stupidity ensues, with them having a “Really?”-off, followed by a “Woo!”-off. Then we get another RAW memory montage of some catchphrases of several stars from the past and present. Flair’s catchphrase is missing from it, so Miz gooses him to say it live.

He tries, but Antonio Cesaro hits the stage to interrupt it. He’s carrying an American flag as he says he doesn’t need any catchphrases, since when there’s something he wants to say, he doesn’t need verbal crutches. Besides, Miz and Flair perfectly embody the American spirit: a failed reality TV star who’s more interested in fame than substance, and an old man who’s a multi-time champion that made ten million dollars while spending thirty million on maintaining the illusion that he’s still young. Holy shit, what a burn; I didn’t realize Cesaro could cut a promo that would actually make me pay attention, but here we are.

Cesaro concludes that Flair is like America itself: no matter what its once greatness was, it’s gone now, and it’s left with nothing but a bar tab that it can’t pay. Nicely done. I need to point out, by the way, that not only is Cesaro carrying an American flag, but he’s got American flag-styled trunks on.

Miz has had it, so he’s “going to pay Ric’s bar tab tonight, but give Antonio the receipt right now.” Weird.

Cesaro says that unlike America, he’s going to just be the bigger man and walk away. So he tries… but Ric catches him and gives him some classic Flair chops, which Cesaro oversells. The final chop sends him into Miz’s waiting arms for a Skull Crushing Finale. Ric starts to put on the Figure Four, but then invites Miz to do so instead. Miz does, and Flair adds to it by doing his elbow drops on Cesaro. After a minute of that, they kick Cesaro out of the ring, then Flair drops some elbows on his suit coat, and we’re out.

Entertaining I guess, but I’ve never been a mark for Flair’s antics personally. [Ed. Note: I'll never get tired of Naitch elbow dropping sport coats. Also, Flair was just a propr, really, and the real headline here is that it looks like Cesaro/Miz is gonna be A Think. Which I like. Because face Miz is so fricking awful, and it will be fun to watch Cesaro stiff the crap out of him for 10 minutes at a time.]

Segment 15 [Single Match]: Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) squashes Cody Rhodes (w/ Damien Sandow) by submission. Meh. Match ended with the No Lock.

Segment 16: We get an “earlier tonight” moment. Eve found Matt Striker after her match, pled her aggression, and said she doesn’t need this place since she’s got a reality show… so she quits. Screw us!

Hm. Was this legit and her way of being written off, or is this just kayfabe so she can take time off for the aforementioned reality show? [Ed. Note: she gone. I'd been under the impression she was sticking around till the February PPV, or maybe even till WrestleMania. But yeah: it wasn't much of a secret that she wanted time off to enjoy the fact that she just got married and whatnot...]

Segment 17: AJ is standing beside Big E Langston in the back for no damn reason. Langston looks like he wants to be literally anywhere else right now, while AJ tells us directly (no interviewer) that her favorite RAW memories were the romance! So we get some video montages of it.

The third and final wedding montage was of AJ’s “wedding” to Daniel Bryan, and the subsequent naming of her as general manager. Back to live, AJ cries: it was the happiest day of her life because she was the GM, and she gave it all up for John Cena, the jerk! She cries harder, and Dolph arrives to comfort her. Dolph then cuts a promo on Cena, that when they have their match tonight, Dolph’s performance will be so awesome that we’re going to talk about it forever. We’ll see.

Post-Segment 17: Good Ol’ JR replaces Cole for the main event tonight. Lawler and JBL are still there.

Pre-Segment 18: Cena’s pre-entrance words are a mini-rap that concludes with: “This ain’t funny… My name is Johnny C and I’m about to get money!” Ugh.

Segment 18 [Singles Cage Match, Modern Rules]: John Cena defeats Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E Langston) by pin. Solid match toward the end, but there was a lot of stupidity in the process. The only thing I don’t like about cage matches is the sheer illogical nature of some of the spots. For example, early on (and during a commercial), Cena had climbed the cage and started to go over. He had basically won, but then Langston ran over and grabbed his ankle. We were supposed to believe that Langston was simply “holding up all of Cena’s body weight” by the ankle with one hand, when Cena could have made that irrelevant by, you know, letting go of the cage. Sorry WWE, my bullshit tolerance only goes so far.

I’m not saying the match was bad quality. Cena and Dolph click, and Dolph himself has proven he’s above average. He had a fairly athletic spot where both Cena and Dolph were trading punches while standing on the top rope (using the cage as balance). When Dolph had Cena stunned, Dolph went for a standing dropkick from the top rope. Good move in theory, though he didn’t have the height from the jump and just dropkicked Cena in the shoulder.

The story was that every time Cena tried to escape the cage, Langston was there to interfere somehow. First is was the aforementioned unfortunate ankle-related spot, but then Langston smashed in Cena’s face with the door when he tried to escape that way. Near the end, Dolph went for the door, and Cena climbed the cage near the door. Cena then kicked the door into Dolph, a sweet athletic spot. But as Cena wanted to come down, Langston was there bashing the shit out of the cage with a chair. Cena thought better of Langston’s insanity and went back in the ring.

Dolph busted out everything he could, including a Zig Zag, but Cena kicked out of it all. By the time that started happening, the crowd had absolutely lost their minds and really bought into the match. Objectively, I wasn’t really impressed with the overall quality to that point, but hey: the crowd’s hot atmosphere gave it bonus points, and I was enjoying myself.

Anyway, all hell broke loose when AJ, completely out of ideas and frustrated for her man, started climbing the cage like a crazy person. I was worried about her upper strength (or lack of it) to try to get over the cage, but a friend pointed out that with her being from New Jersey, she’s probably had to jump fences often, so she’s used to it.

So AJ sits atop the cage, straddling it like [perverted joke here], and Langston dove in the ring to… I don’t know, protect her or something. Why he didn’t do that in the first place is beyond me since, you know, no DQs, but that’s just the last of a series of facepalm-worthy spots as I previously mentioned.

So Langston gets in the ring with Dolph’s Money in the Bank briefcase, but Cena kicks him in the gut before he can do anything with it. Langston drops the case, Dolph picks it up, then throws it at Cena’s head. Cena’s Jedi senses kicked in, so Cena dodged it, meaning the case flew right into Langston’s face. Dolph panicked, Cena quickly hit him with an FU and made the pin. The teenage estrogen brigade collective entered puberty with their squeals.

As Cena left to his music, AJ remained straddling the cage and screaming in his general direction. From there… commercials.

Segment 19: Time for The Rock’s rock concert… and, oh, Cole never left. They went to a four-man booth last match, apparently. I honestly didn’t notice until they did a camera sweep of ringside when AJ was losing her mind.

Rock does his full entrance, then chats before getting to the songs. He pokes fun at himself by saying he’s got a lot of RAW memories too, like his first night on RAW, when he was A BEAST. Cut to the Titantron, showing the toothy-grinned Rock with the high fade in his stupid pastel-colored ribbons. Nice. “I looked like an escaped mental patient looking like I was trying to audition for the Backstreet Boys.” Note to Rock: that was before the time of most of the fans in the crowd. Sorry, man.

He finally sits down, says some cheap pops, then sings a cappella. First is a song to a “very special diva.” The lines include “big floppy breasts,” and we get a picture of Paul Heyman. Heh.

Rock pulls a guitar out of Hammerspace as he absorbs a “Rocky” chant, then he gives a shoutout to a ZZ Top dude in the front row. Then… uh…

You know, I really can’t recap this; it’s in Rock’s delivery and words that I can’t put into text. It’s pure entertainment, and he just plays with the crowd every second. He interrupts himself almost every other sentence to comment on what he hears someone screaming something interesting.

Rock’s first guitar-given song is to Vickie Guerrero, and even calls Vickie out to the stage. Vickie looks nervous as hell since she knows something’s going to be up. But Rock fires up Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight," and she relaxes, because Rock sings it legit for the whole first verse. Awwww, Rocky's playing nice. But then he gets to the chorus: “And she’ll ask me ‘Do I look all right?’ / And I go ‘No beeyotch, you look horrible tonight.” Ha! It gets better from there as the song gets worse in all the right ways. A second verse thoroughly mocks Vickie, and Rock even gets the crowd to join in a final chorus so that they can "play Vickie out."

His next song is going to be… to CM Punk. Oh god, here we go. Wait… it’s not a song, because Rock moved all the mic stands out of the way.

Rock calls him out, and Punk eventually pops out with Heyman flanking him. Before there’s any song, Rock gets on his serious face first as he says that Punk wanted to talk about “facts” earlier? Well fact: No one has taken the title from you for 421 days. Fact: Your manager there has Twinkie tits. Also, Rock reminds of Punk’s line last week about “boxing with God.” So Rock wanted to tell him face-to-face in front of the world, fact: “You ain’t God.” Nice, good reaction from the crowd, and a line that would have been stupid on its own without Punk throwing the first stone last week. “But as God as my witness, in 13 days, I will beat you for the WWE Title.”

Well Punk isn’t taking any more shit, so he runs for the ring. Rock has no problem with a brawl, so Rock slides out of the ring to meet him. They start exchanging punches that quickly turns into a diva-like catfight on the black mats. Refs materialize to pry them apart, but that doesn’t really help, so Booker T and Arn Anderson and a bunch of nameless officials arrive to try to help too. Finally they do so, and…

Well, and that’s the end of the show. Huh.

Final Thoughts: Usually when they do these brawl segments, I don’t fully buy into it. Maybe it’s because I’m biased for Rock, maybe it’s because I’m biased for Punk as well, maybe it’s just their build-up… regardless of why, I bought it, and it adds fuel to the feud. I’m a little disappointed that Rock didn’t do another few songs, but hell: the trade-off is worth it. He didn’t overstay his welcome, period, and that’s awesome.

The rest of the night was solid taken together. There wasn’t anything that was a massive stand out, but none of the matches (even the subpar ones) were bad. Without Rock or Punk this would have still been an above-average night thanks to the heat from the crowd. Good deal.

Given the “specialness” of the night, I’m surprised WWE didn’t pull out its usual guests. You know… Steve Austin, Mae Young, whatever. For being the 20th anniversary of RAW, they didn’t treat the night any more special than usual. [Ed. Note: It seems they put the Nostalgia Energy into the highlight packages. Which is actually an appropriate way to go on an anniversary, I guess.] I’m not disappointed, though. Honestly, there’s enough going on with the Royal Rumble and the Road to WrestleMania and The Rock that they didn’t really have time to do anything too crazy. Hell, half the matches featured only one entrance, so they were already running pretty tight on time. Though, that gives WWE bonus points too: they had far fewer video recaps than usual, the entire show felt “faster,” and the three hours went by pretty quick. Hopefully they keep that up, but I don’t exactly have optimism.

I’ve said everything else in the above recap, so I’m out for the night. I’ll see you at the end of the week for the SmackDown recap as usual, all. Have a good week!

Episode Grade: B+



SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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