Coming off a surprisingly strong Tables Ladders and Chair, the WWE is going into full Rock promotion mode. There were multiple commercials during the show and he’s being promoted locally for various appearances. Hell, Punk has been talking about the Rock for months already. Yes, there will be other matches at the upcoming Royal Rumble (including the rumble itself) but this is all anyone cares about.
But forget about all that, it’s the Slammys!
The Slammys were already meaningless, but now all of the voting is done online. WWE doesn’t have the best history with accurate fan vote results, so this show could largely be a wash. At least we get to see Lawler in a tuxedo.
The show kicks off with Mysterio in singles action against Damien Sandow with Sin Cara and Cody Rhodes in their respective partner’s corner. They must have taken my advice from last night because During Rey’s intro, Rey waved over for Sin Cara to come join him. That’s how it should be. We don’t need Sin Cara jumping around like an idiot. Rumor is that he further injured his knee at TLC, and this doesn’t prove otherwise. Sandow controls the early going until he brings Mysterio up on the top turnbuckle. Mysterio beats Damien back to the mat and gets going. Hurricarana, dropkick, 619, top rope splash, quick win for Mysterio. I feel like the matches will be on the quick side most of the night to make time for all the Slammys.
Booker T comes out to announce the most shocking moment of the year. The nominees are Brad Maddox’s low blow on Ryback, Sheamus beating Bryan at WrestleMania, Kofi walking on his hands to avoid elimination at the Royal Rumble, and Punk turning heel on Rock. Before Booker can announce the winner, he’s interrupted by the Boogie Man! He smashes the alarm clock over his head and runs around with worms as they go to break. Booker looks like he just crapped his pants. When they come back Booker says “Tell me I did not see that.” I assume Boogie Man ran around with worms for the length of the break. Back to the award, Brad Maddox walks out expecting his name to be called, but instead Kofi Kingston wins it. Punk got robbed.
Back in the ring Kaitlyn is going against Eve and she is smacking the Divas Champion around literally. Kaitlyn wants revenge for Eve causing her to lose the battle royal last night to get a title shot. Eve gets Kaitlyn in the corner for her choke move but Kaitlyn lifts her up and drops her on her knees (clumsily) to get the quick win. She holds up Eve’s title and in all likelihood they will meet at the Rumble.
The New Age Outlaws are back! Billy Gunn signed with WWE recently and is back with the Road Dogg. Jesse James does the whole schtick before getting into the Comeback of the Year Award. The nominees are Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, DX and Jerry Lawler. Of course Jerry Lawler is going to win. He came back from the dead for crying out loud! They have another commercial break before announcing the winner of course so that everyone can download the WWE app and vote on the awards. This just has to be incredibly awkward for everyone in the arena. Are Gunn and Road Dogg just standing there the whole time? Anyway Lawler wins. Obviously.
“Tell me I did not see that” winner and Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston in the ring now facing Tensai. Tensai dominates Kofi through “Albert” chants from the crowd. He misses on a dive in the turnbuckle though and Kofi hits him with Trouble in Paradise to win yet another quick match. Afterwards however Wade Barrett spoils the celebration by puling Kofi out of the ring, throwing him into the ring post and delivering a Bull Hammer elbow to knock him out. I assume they will meet again. The only question is if it will be at Royal Rumble or not. Normally I’d say definitely but some talent needs to actually be in the rumble.
Vickie Guerrero out now to announce the winner of Kiss of the Year. The nominees are all involving AJ. AJ and Daniel Bryan, AJ and Kane, AJ and CM Punk, and AJ and John Cena. #AJALL anyone? Vickie gets on the soapbox to say she would never get involved with anyone at work, while AJ’s kiss with Cena gets the win. AJ comes out for the award and Vickie asks her to explain her actions at TLC. Instead AJ grabs the award and says she cared too much about what everyone thought about her in the past but not anymore. Vickie calls her a piece of trash and they start arguing until Dolph Ziggler comes out to break it up. AJ then tells Vickie that her and Cena might have won kiss of the year, “but it is nothing compared to this” and proceeds to jump into Ziggler’s arms and make out with him. Vickie screams bloody murder and storms off. AJ then skips away and leaves Dolph staggered. We all saw that one coming, right?
Khali up next against David Otunga. Jobber versus jobber. Something has to give. Natalya is in Khali’s corner and he almost immediately hits a few big chops. He misses on a kick though and Otunga beats him down. Khali puts a boot up to tag Otunga running at him in the corner, hits him with the chop to the head and gets the pin. That was longer than the Kofi match. This is a total waste.
Ric Flair in the house! At least his voice anyway. He is heard announcing the nominees for Superstar of the Year. It is between John Cena, CM Punk, Sheamus and Big Show. Should be Punk. More importantly is the sound of Flair’s voice. Very curious if he is in the building or not. Back from break, Ric Flair sure is in the house! It had been rumored for a while but for it to be so sudden is pretty surprising. JBL said it’s like Babe Ruth returning to Yankee Stadium. His best days were not in the WWE, although they own the rights to all the companies his best days were in so I guess it works. Somehow, John Cena wins Superstar of the Year and the Philadelphia crowd does not seem to agree. Cena does that dopey smirk (the same one he did when he lost last night) as the crowd chants “Ziggler’s better” and talks about working harder than anyone else and thanking the fans and all that. Out of respect, he says that the superstar of the year should be the greatest superstar of all time, and gives the award to Flair. He walks about and Flair starts to talk but gets cut off by CM Punk. He says Cena winning is a joke since he has done nothing but lose all year (true) and that Flair wasn’t even in the organization this year. Punk gets in Flair’s face and says that he’s man. Flair checks his diamond studded watch and tells him it’s time to walk. Punk says that even with one leg he can still kick his ass. Flair brings up his four ex-wives, beating Punk to the punch before challenging him to a fight in the ring. Flair goes down the ramp into the ring waiting for Punk who slowly makes his way into the ring. Punk then hits Flair with his crutch and takes him down. He struts and goes for another shot before Flair gives him an eye gauge. Punk rolls out of the ring and Flair puts the figure four on Heyman. Good spot and cool way to bring back Flair.
Still in the ring, Flair grabs the mic and says that he and Lawler and never going to die, but if he’s going to go he wants to go as a part of this organization (or with a woman from Philadelphia). He continues to talk until the Shield starts to appear in the crowd. Not to be forgotten is a sign that says “I just Mizzed My Pants.” Well done whoever you are. They go to commercial and when they come back Kane and Bryan are helping Flair against Shield. Ambrose takes out Flair and then the group takes out Team Hell No. Flair gets dragged out of the ring and they prepare to put him through the announce table when Ryback comes out. He takes all of them out, throwing Rollins onto the announce table. It doesn’t break, he just bounces off. Flair, Kane, Bryan and Ryback all get back in the ring and Flair shakes Ryback’s hand and they all hold their arms up. Shouldn’t Ryback want to eat him or something? A little out of character. They then put Flair on their shoulders and give him another ovation. I was with the whole thing until that last part. I dunno, it was just a little too much for me.
Backstage Flair is talking to Kane and Bryan. Kane is celebrating how they finally took down the Shield, yelling YES! This gets Bryan shouting NO! That gets Flair yelling WOO! Finally Ron Simmons shows up to stop things with an emphatic DAMN! A lot of screen time for Flair.
Another weird squash match as Brodus Clay faces JTG. JTG hits move off the top rope after a quick burst from Clay. Brodus then hits a couple of clotheslines and a splash in the corner before hitting the headbutt and What the Funk (that’s what it’s called right?) to win for the first time in what seems like ages.
Now for some reason Santino and Tensai are out to announce LOL moment of the year. Tensai is wearing a bandage and ice on his head after losing to Kofi, he even falls coming out to the stage. Tensai refuses to talk to Santino, while referring to him as Albert, says his lines for him. He says that his name is Tensai, which in Japan means “Fat Albert.” Tensai gets pissed and Santino says he was just reading the teleprompter. Tensai then actually speaks, yelling that there is no teleprompter. This could finally be the character change Albert so desperately needs. Maybe he will go back to being Prince Albert. It makes so much sense. No one sees him as anything else. Anyway the nominees are Rock making fun of Cena, the anger management sessions, Randy Orton pouring coffee and sauce on Ricardo, and Vickie Guerrero dancing. It has to be the anger management sessions right? Well it’s not. It’s the Rock. He isn’t there and Santino takes it in his place. Bryan comes out to grab the award saying that it should be his. He’s damn right. Kane drags him away.
I guess Sin Cara is okay because he’s facing Cody Rhodes. They actually brought the lights down for him. Can’t imagine why they are bringing that back. Sin Cara does some low impact jumpy moves before Cody starts using real wresting moves. Cody continues smacking and kicking Sin Cara around until Sin Cara rolls toward the ropes. When Rhodes goes after him he gets met with a swinging kick to the face and Sin Cara hits a hurricarana. Cody blocks another attempt at a swinging whirly whatever, hits the Cross Rhodes and takes the match. His push continues.
Zack Ryder and Layla out next to announce the Trending Now Hashtag of the Year (oh god). The nominees are #feedmemore, #peoplepower (hey a Laurinaitis mention!), #littlejimmy and #wwwyki. I assume Ryder wins by default but I have only gotten one right so far. Well I’m wrong and it is #feedmemore. I feel like they were expecting Ryder to win as he took the trophy before it was announces and said he would go to the back to hand it to him. Kind of awkward.
Big Show in the ring now with his big chair from TLC to brag about beating Sheamus. As he gets booed he asks what he has to do for everyone to understand that he is the most dominant wrestler in the WWE. The crowd chants “boring” and he starts berating them before Sheamus interrupts to tell Show he has no regrets about their match. He calls it one of the most brutal matches he’s ever been in (just like he did two months ago). Between lines a fan yells “You suck Sheamus!” He says Big Show was the better man and deserves the title. He then shakes hands with Big Show and starts to walk out, when Big Show tells him to get to the back and calls him a potato eating Irishman. Sheamus then loses it and takes him down, hitting him with the giant chair before knocking him out with a Brogue Kick. Didn’t they do this same act last month? Forget all that because Dolph Ziggler just came out with the briefcase and Big Show is out cold! He tries to get the match to start but Cena come out and attacks Ziggler before anything can get started. He throws him into the barriers walks back up the ramp. We were so close to having Ziggler take the World Heavyweight Championship. Pretty heelish move by Cena. Backstage Ziggler is demanding Vickie Guerrero to do something about Cena, but all Vickie wants to know is what is going on between him and AJ since TLC. Dolph confirms with Vickie that their “relationship” is over, and that her jealousy is getting “tired, old, and just plain ugly” just like her (BURN!). Vickie decides to put Ziggler in a match with AJ against Cena, and Vickie is going to be Cena’s partner. Great. More lady drama.
On to 3MB in a six man tag match against Alberto Del Rio, Miz, and since they are in Philadelphia where ECW was born, Tommy Dreamer! This is turning into the tag team version of Slater’s legend run. Needless to say, ECW chants are pretty strong tonight. First for Heyman, and now for Dreamer. He looks pretty good out there. Puts some finish on all of his blows. He also got censored for saying “son of a bitch.” Then with all of 3MB outside the ring, Dreamer jumps off the top rope and takes out the whole team. Dreamer never got enough of a shot in WWE. 3MB controls the middle of the match with Miz taking the punishment. It takes a while too. Occasionally Miz gets a chance to tag out but he keeps getting stopped. Finally Del Rio gets the hot tag and he works on Slater. He shoves McIntyre into the announce table but the camera never shows it. Meanwhile Del Rio has Slater set up for the arm breaker but Dreamer begs to be tagged in. Alberto abides and Tommy plants Slater with a DDT to win the match. Match of the night so far but mainly just because it actually went longer than three minutes.
Sheamus out again, this time to announce the winner of the Newcomer of the Year award that he won three years ago. The nominees are Antonio Cesaro, Brodus Clay, Damien Sandow and Ryback. I’d have to guess that it’s Ryback, even though to me it’s Sandow. He’ll be my new guy when Ziggler gets too big and he isn’t as cool to root for anymore. That’s coming soon by the way (don’t worry Dolph, you’ll always be my guy). Finally I get one right. He couldn’t come out for his hashtag award, but he comes out for this. He quotes Owen Hart, saying “enough is enough, and it’s time for a change.” He then declares that he is that change and gets a “Feed me more” chant going. He’s shown more personality tonight than he has in his entire career. That is the first major step in making him more than a one note wonder.
The second step is having him in face better opponents and he gets a shot at that now with a match against Cesaro. He says that the voting is rigged (DUH) because he is stronger and smarter than Ryback, and he’s a champion. Cesaro jumps right in with an uppercut but Ryback answers with a Lou Thesz press. With “Goldberg” chants in full force Ryback holds Cesaro up for a suplex just like Goldberg did with the Jackhammer. Cesaro responds with a spine buster and goes for the Neutralizer but Ryback power out of it and hits a spine buster of his own. Ryback taunts for the meathook clothesline, but Cesaro sees it coming and just rolls out of the ring (everyone should do this). Ryback comes down and throws Cesaro back in with a gorilla press but Antonio just rolls his way out on the other side and leaves the ring with his United States Championship. Ryback wins by countout and is not happy about it.
Jim Ross along with Mean Gene Oklerlund and Ricky The Dragon Steamboat to announce the Match of the Year award. The nominees are Triple H versus the Undertaker at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar versus John Cena at Extreme Rules, Sheamus versus Big Show at Hell in a Cell, and Rock versus Cena at WrestleMania. I’d personally vote for Sheamus/Big Show, but I think Rock/Cena will win. Of course I’m wrong again because it’s Undertaker versus Triple H. Triple H is actually in the house to accept the award, haircut and all! He looks like a totally different person with that hair. After a heavy “We want ‘Taker” chant, he says that match gave him the opportunity to be part of something truly special along with Michaels and Undertaker. Triple H then confirms that we have not heard the last of the Undertaker. BOMBSHELL! This of course doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be at this year’s WrestleMania, but that has to be the assumption right? There has been a lot of talk over whether or not he can go and who he could face. The front runner seems to be CM Punk, which would make for an epic moment for him. Lesnar, Ryback and dare I say, Sting have all been rumored as possible opponents. Punk seems to be the most realistic. It would be the ultimate showcase for his talents and can further catapult him into legendary status. The same could be said for Ryback but it just wouldn’t be the same type of exhibition. Lesnar makes sense dating back to their beef when Lesnar was in UFC, and of course Sting has always wanted to face him. There is a lot to speculate on but it’s good to know that the Undertaker has at least one more match in him.
Backstage the Shield is beating up Tommy Dreamer, tossing him around the garage. Somehow Ricardo Rodriguez is the first to defend him and he gets beat up for his troubles. I guess Del Rio will be joining the fight against Shield next.
Time for the main event mixed gender tag match. AJ comes out first (no she’s not in Ziggler gear) and demands that a ladder be set up in the middle of the ring. She climbs to the top of the ladder and says that people have been asking her why she screwed Cena (no, not that way) at TLC. Before she can actually say why however, Vickie interrupts to talk trash, followed by Ziggler and Cena making their entrances. “Ziggler’s better” fills the crowd and Cena once again can’t help but smirk while Ziggler shakes it off. They start the match off, Ziggler gets an armlock on Cena but John powers out of it and Dolph tags in AJ. Vickie comes in and it turns into a stupid cat fight until AJ gets up and leaves the ring. Dolph goes after Cena, Vickie gives Dolph a dirty look and leaves the ring as well. So now the ladies are gone and it’s just Cena versus Ziggler, which is how it outta be. No one wants to see AJ fight Vickie. Ziggler escapes an Attitude Adjustment and hits a jumping DDT and delivers a flurry of elbows. Ziggler then goes for a superkick but misses and Cena applies the STF. Meanwhile AJ comes back to ringside with Big E Langston (whoever that is) from NXT (oh okay). Langston walks into the ring like a robot and drops Cena like a bad habit. Cena wins via DQ and Ziggler just looks confused while AJ stands outside laughing. The show ends with AJ skipping around Langston with Cena still laid out.
A very strange and unsuspenseful ending to a very underwhelming Raw. If it wasn’t for Flair, Dreamer and the Undertaker announcement there would have been no reason to watch it at all. Lets hope better things are around the corner. Since Royal Rumble is next through there doesn’t have to be a normal progression of feuds going into a PPV. Most of the roster will be in the rumble aside from a few other matches so they might not bother too much. It is all about Rock/Punk anyway. There is the 20th anniversary of Raw coming up on January 14th, so some big things can be expected to happen then, but otherwise a lot of place holders could be left until the PPV after rumble.