WWE really got hit with a crap sandwich to end 2012 with the last two Monday Night Raw’s falling on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve respectively. Somehow WWE found some common sense and prerecorded both shows, and with the 20th anniversary show coming up, all signs would point to both episodes carrying little to no real content storywise. Hopefully this means nothing but great matches but I’m not giving my hopes up. Since I don’t pay myself to write these recaps and do in fact have a life of my own, I saved both of them for after the holidays and will just make some notes instead. Here’s hoping to a kick ass 2013!
Christmas Eve Show
The show opens with Mick Foley, portraying Santa Claus, getting run into by Alberto Del Rio. Ricardo is in tears and Del Rio is shocked as “you killed Santa” chants come down from the crowd. Santa gets carried away in a stretcher and Alberto’s run as a face just took a very weird turn. Best open in the history of WWE. The car would be fenced off as a crime scene and perhaps the funniest part of the whole thing is Michael Cole being nearly as serious as he was when Lawler had his heart attack. Now Santa somehow put Del Rio in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight against John Cena. That just means they can use Christmas items around the ring against each other. So now Santa Claus can book matches too.
Cody Rhodes looked really good in his loss to Kane. He continues to impress me in his return. I’m a little puzzled why he tried to remove a second turnbuckle pad though.
The only thing to appreciate out of the 8 woman Diva’s tag match is Tamina Snuka looking pissed because she has to wear a slutty Christmas outfit. I feel your pain sista. Layla gets top billing but Kaitlyn is being booked as the top face Diva, getting the pin over Eve.
Ziggler and AJ snuggling on a white bear skin rug. Adorable.
Sheamus and Big Show had a lumberjack frost match (get it?). The highlight of the whole thing was Show screaming Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer while having Sheamus in an arm lock, ending with Sheamus grabbing Show’s nose. As far as actual wrestling goes, Sheamus hitting Show with an electric chair slam was pretty cool too. Sheamus ducked under a KO Punch to land a Brogue Kick and win a very good match. The lumberjacks were pretty useless.
David Otunga defended Del Rio before almost beating Zack Ryder until he realized that he’s David Otunga. Again, is Alberto Del Rio a face or a heel? (WWE is trying to figure that out themselves)
Oh so many bad holiday puns.
Even though they forgot to trigger his pyro, Kofi Kingston teamed up with Miz to face Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro anyway. Kofi kicked Barrett into Miz who delivered a Skull Crushing Finale to win a perfectly acceptable midcard match.
Brad Maddox lost another shot at a WWE contract by jobbing to Khali in an elf costume. The Maddox gimmick is a bit stale. He wrestles too much for a guy without an actual contract. If he’s going to stick around, it’s time to officially have him on the roster.
Punk and Heyman cut another brilliant promo for the upcoming Ryback/Punk title match on the January 7th edition of Raw. Ryback then comes out to inform Punk that it will be a TLC match. Can Ryback get a manager please? He sounds like a washing machine with sneakers in it when he talks.
Damien Sandow versus Daniel Bryan. Two of my personal favorites in the ring at the same time. It starts with Sandow asking for silence and Bryan yelling “NO!” I love it. Quick pace and a lot of nice moves. Bryan swung out of Sandow’s finisher to lock in the NO Lock and get the submission victory.
The heels and faces from the lumberjack match got together again for a 12 man 12 days of Christmas tag match. Usos got some serious play in the match, getting the pin on Heath Slater. It would be nice if they got a push in the tag team division.
Kane gives Daniel Bryan a Slammy for Christmas. Bryan gives Kane a dog. Kane is legitimately excited because he’s hungry and wants to eat it. Bryan says “NO! Animals are friends not food” (of course because Bryan is vegan). Well done guys.
The main event between Del Rio and Cena started with Ricardo being too overcome with emotion to announce Del Rio. Alberto takes the mic during the match and tries to explain that it was just an accident, and Cena just yells “Santa!” in response and hits Del Rio. Classic debate skills by Cena. Ricardo gives Del Rio a gift to use on Cena. It turns out to be a pie, and Del Rio accidentally hits Ricardo with it instead. Yup, it’s that kind of match. Cena meanwhile finds a tv monitor in a box and gets the use that (why are these things wrapped up in boxes on the stage?). Del Rio then pulls out a teddy bear and throws it at Cena. That was actually pretty damn funny. Cole makes fun of Cena for selling being hit with a cardboard box (okay now THAT’S funny). Here’s where it gets weird. John Cena finds a bowling ball in a box and rolls it down the ramp into Dell Rio’s nuts. Alberto almost started corpsing out of sheer ridiculousness. Merry Christmas everyone! With Cena distracted, Ricardo puts him down with a sleeper hold (how about that!). Santa Claus (still Mick Foley) then comes out, decks Ricardo with his sack, uses a stocking like socko, gives Del Rio the mandible claw, throwing him into Cena to hit Alberto with an Attitude Adjustment for the win. An absolutely ridiculous match but what the hell, it’s Christmas and it was fun.
The only thing I didn’t get for Christmas was a Dolph Ziggler match.
New Year’s Eve Show
The New Year’s show started off with much less of a bang than Christmas Eve, with Miz TV leading off the show. Add to that that his guest is John Cena and I’m about done with 2012. I just realized that they have two couches out for this show each time but then the guests sit in director’s chairs. Miz informs us that all titles will be on the line (except for Punk of course) and that the champions will pick their opponents (Big Show versus Santino please!). John Cena says he’s going to Ziggler and AJ’s New Year’s toast in the ring later, and Team Rhodes Scholars come out to trash Miz for bringing up the AJ scandal. All Cena wants to do is reference RG3 (Raw is in DC) and talk about Cody’s stache (can’t blame him for that one).
So now Cena and Miz will team up for the first match of the night against Team Rhodes Scholars. Cody Rhodes growing a mustache is probably the best possible thing he could do for his career. The crowd chants “Cody’ mustache” whenever he’s in the ring. He never got that big of a reaction before. It could be the new “YES” chant. I find myself wondering (if wrestling was real of course) what would have happened if Cena didn’t make the challenge for a tag match. This was not scheduled for the card, so what would the original plan have been after Miz TV. Really long commercial break? Did another imaginary match get bumped? Is that where Ryback’s match was supposed to be? Miz does the jobbing for most of the match until getting Cena in on the hot tag, immediately going into the five moves of doom. Cena hits the five knuckle shuffle on Sandow (legal man) but is then struck with a disaster kick by Rhodes. Rhodes is then met with a Skull Crushing Finale by Miz and Cena hits Sandow with an Attitude Adjustment for the win. Just about as formulaic of a match as you can have.
Backstage Vickie Guerrero is having a New Year’s Eve party, and she’s all being a bitch to Ziggler by putting him in a match with Sheamus. CM Punk has Vickie put Ryback in a handicap match against Shield (I guess Ryback was not scheduled to perform until then), and Heyman gets turned down on a kiss on the cheek.
Antonio Cesaro decides to defend his United States Championship against Sgt Slaughter. So that’s kind of cool. At least until the match starts. Slaughter kind of no sells most of Cesaro’s strikes but after Antonio reaches the rope to get out of the cobra clutch, he hits the Neutralizer for the win, hitting another one after the bell to rub it in. Squash match.
Kane and Bryan and pissed because they wanted to pick Shield to defend their title against (no idea why) and then they are thinking of whom to pick, 3MB is heard on the other side of the room rehearsing. So that’s going to happen. Meanwhile, Big Show may not face Santino, but he did decide to defend against Ricardo Rodriguez instead. Somehow I get the feeling Del Rio will be involved. Eve will defend her title against Mae Young. This show is teetering on blowing.
Bryan and Slater actually had a really good start to the tag title match. Bryan hit a toe drag on Slater as Heath was just landing from a jump, and followed it with a Mexican surfboard (which I always appreciate). Kane hits McIntyre with a chokeslam to win a pretty entertaining match. Bryan plays air guitar on the tag team championship belt. Kane does not. When will these two get along!?
Punk in the ring to say that he’s the best and to have his doctor reveal that his injury is real. The doctor shows x-rays of a healthy knee and Punk’s, and Punk goes on to say that next week he’ll be back and will beat Ryback. The doctor then informs Punk that he can not clear Punk to compete based on the current condition of his rehab. This match was rumored to be pushed off further to insure Punk’s status for the Royal Rumble so this isn’t completely unexpected. Out comes Vince McMahon though and suggests that WWE officials examine his condition next week instead of his personal physician, the result of which will determine whether or not he competes. If Punk can’t go however, McMahon stipulates that Paul Heyman will take his place and face Ryback. Ryback faces Heyman at Madison Square Garden during the holiday tour so that is definitely a possibility. I would not be surprised with either result right now.
Dolph Ziggler out to face Sheamus and it seems that making out with AJ is now part of his entrance (that’s a pretty good entrance). Big E Langston-bot is ringside too. They put on a really good match, ending with Sheamus hitting White Noise and setting up for the Brogue Kick. Langston gets Sheamus’ attention though and Dolph tries to apply and sleeper, but Sheamus throws Ziggler over the top rope, into Langston’s arms. Big E then starts to enter the ring but the Shield jumps Sheamus from behind and takes him out instead, hitting the triple power bomb. So maybe that will lead to something.
Backstage Wade Barrett is trying to get Kofi to challenge him for his Intercontinental title. Barrett asks if he’s choosing between Hornswaggle and Lil’ Jimmy (as he should) but Kofi takes the bait and agrees to face Barrett. Stupid face. Brad Maddox then went to Punk and Heyman looking for a job, and Heyman chewed him out. Perhaps Maddox will cost Punk the title at Royal Rumble? Hmmmmm. Staying backstage, Mae Young can’t compete because she is pregnant. AGAIN! If she gives birth to another hand I’m going to flip. Maybe it’ll be a foot. Kaitlyn would run out instead and just kind of cat fight in a non match. Waste of time.
Getting ready for his match against Big Show, Ricardo is greeted by Alberto Del Rio. He apologizes to Rodriguez for treating him like crap all this time, and Ricardo says he wants to win the match for him. Del Rio says he’ll be in his corner, gives Ricardo his scarf and the keys to his car, telling him to go out there in style. If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not Del Rio was continuing the face turn, this was it. It’s the sappiest face turn since Ebeneezer Scrooge. Big Show smacks him around early but Ricardo pulls and enziguri out of his ass and for a second Show is in trouble. Show recovers however and lines up for a KO Punch but Del Rio interferes and delivers a sidekick to the face. Big Show wins via DQ, and he will face Del Rio on Smackdown. Why do I get the feeling that these two will square off at the Royal Rumble?
Kofi and Barrett facing each other for what, the eighth time in two months? It’s my biggest problem with the current WWE. Of course they put on a good match but that’s not the point. The point is that after a while there isn’t much new that you can do in the ring. So why have all of these matches on regular shows? If they met once on Raw and had a couple of PPV bouts it would make those big matches feel so much bigger. It’s a waste of good efforts from both. Barrett hit Wasteland for what seems like the first time in forever but Kofi kicked out of it. Kingston then misses on a cross body splash from the top rope, leading to Wade Barrett hitting the Bull Hammer elbow and winning the Intercontinental Championship. I imagine they will both compete in the Royal Rumble, then face each other again at Elimination Chamber.
Backstage, Vickie farted and said “excuse me” as Mae Young gave birth to Hornswaggle in a diaper and a Happy New Year sash. Good grief. Jerry Lawler said he wished he was not revived from his heart attack after seeing that bit. I’m not kidding.
Shield out to face Ryback. Something kind of spoils the idea of the Shield for me when they are booked in matches. Then they have their own entrance music. They are supposed to be a rogue group that can’t be controlled. Then they sign into matches and follow the rules. At least they still enter through the crowd and not down the entrance ramp. Ryback gets jumped before he even gets in the ring and is getting beaten down until Sheamus runs in to help him. Shield takes him down as well and dominate until Randy Orton makes his return to action and levels the playing field. He leads the charge as the faces clean house and the Shield exits the arena.
Ziggler and AJ dressed to the nines while Langston is still in ring gear for the New Year’s toast. It’s all about how many times Cena lost in 2012 (which was a lot) yet was still voted superstar of the year. Dolph says Cena’s time is over and Ziggler’s time is now, and uninvites Cena to the toast. Langston stands guard outside the ring when Cena shows up on the stage. He says that Ziggler was right about 2012. Cena then shows a photoshop job of Dolph and AJ’s wedding (guess who’s in the dress?) and their first kid and Dolph finally cuts him off because Cena has nothing but jokes. Cena then attacks Dolph for taking 7 years to get to where Cena has been the last ten (got him there), announces that he will be entering the Royal Rumble and promises that he will be WWE Champion in 2013. The stage is now set for WrestleMania. Rock beats Punk at Royal Rumble, Cena wins the Rumble and beats Rock at WrestleMania to win the WWE Championship. Cena wraps things up but dumping a pile of shit on Ziggler and AJ to end the 2012 WWE program schedule. The whole segment took way too long but at least there was a payoff.
The New Year’s show was leaps and bounds above the Christmas show but that wasn’t saying much. At least now we can get back on track with live programming, getting the Rock back into things, Raw’s 20th anniversary and promoting the Royal Rumble.
Here is to a happy and prosperous 2013.