Posted by: pop-break | January 14, 2013

Monday Night Raw: The 20th Anniversary

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CM Punk WWE Title Reign: 421 days

It seems like every month WWE has some sort of milestone event. While it can be a bit much to over-sell the product, one cannot deny that World Wrestling Entertainment is quite remarkable after being around for enough years to say they have become a generation-spanning entity. My grandparents watched wrestling, my father watched wrestling, I watch wrestling, and there is little doubt my kids will watch wrestling.

Unless my wife calls child services on me.

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Joking aside, any program that has been around for 20 years deserves to brag. Look at The Simpsons or Law and Order. Both programs survived tumulus times, strikes, and still managed to stay on the air. I am sure January 14th, 2013, Monday Night Raw, will be quite memorable.

It was announced via WWE.com that the Hardcore Legend, Mick Foley is the first announced inductee into the 2013 Hall of Fame. While many wondered just why he was not inducted sooner, get over it. You cannot induct everybody in a single year. Just does not work that way. It is a great choice this year, and I imagine the rest of the inductees will be equally as deserving as Cactus Jack, or Dude Love, or Mankind. I will never forget the 1998 Royal Rumble, when Cactus Jack drew #1, Mankind entered at #16, and Dude Love at #28. Shame none of those personas won.

Onto RAW!!!

Tonight we will be treated to a “Rock Concert” featuring Freddie Joe Floyd. Just kidding. The Rock will unleash his verbal assault on CM Punk in the form of a guitar solo. Alberto del Rio will walk in as World Heavyweight Champion, but will Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler leave with the holy strap?

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We begin with Vince McMahon welcoming us to the 20th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw. The Chairman thanks us for being loyal fans, but before he can go on, The Big Show interrupts him. He demands that Vince strip Alberto del Rio of the World Heavyweight Championship. McMahon then reminds Big Show that he doesn’t like to be given orders, and Big Show does not have the right to call him Vince. Show apologizes and humbly makes the request again, resulting in McMahon making fun of the former champion, rolling the footage from SmackDown. Show loses his mind, but the tirade is interrupted by Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. The new World Champion demands a match with Big Show, but the giant refuses. In turn, Del Rio asks Big Show if he could grow some cajones. Ricardo then teases throwing the contents of a large bucket, and fakes out Show when it turns out to be confetti. Show moves to attack but the new World Champion strikes, taking out Big Show with a hurricanrana, and a turnbuckle insiguri. McMahon congratulates the new World Champion.

Clip of Bob Barker as the special guest host of Monday Night Raw, making fun of Chris Jericho and beating up Chavo Guerrero. Best host they ever had.

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Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett (non-title match)
Orton surprisingly dominates the match early on. Not so surprising, the crowd doesn’t really react for Orton anymore. Orton does his typical beat down moves and then sends the Intercontinental Champ over the top rope. I hope my witty commentary keeps you reading since this match is becoming a bore-fest. Back from commercial, Barrett controls the match and the crowd attempts to rally Orton. Why. Barrett is a great wrestler, and Orton seems to have forgotten how do to a move. Barrett beats to down Orton with two consecutive big boots, followed by a huge boot over the top rope, sending Orton to the apron. Orton gets sloppy after Barrett sends him into the corner, then wakes up, remembers his line and clotheslines Barrett, then hits the powerslam, hits the second-rope DDT, and now winds up for the RKO. Orton makes the leap but Barrett counters, sending Orton into the corner. Orton stops, but Barrett clocks his opponent and Barrett lobs him shoulder-first into the ringpost!! The bare-knuckle brawler winds up and CLOBBERS Orton with the Bull Hammer! He covers and the ref makes the three-count!! Barrett wins CLEAN!!!!
Winner by a Clean Win: Wade Barrett

Wow. This impressed me. It wasn’t a great match, a pretty standard match involving Orton, but Barrett certainly shined and stood out. Chances are Orton chose to sleepwalk through the match. This only helped Barrett stand out, and this result is only further proof that a heel-turn by Randy Orton is imminent and Wade Barrett continues to rise in WWE.

JBL has likely had a few drinks, as he repeated a few lines over and over, as well as mixing up wrestlers.

Backstage, Booker T confronts Eve about her recent antics of getting disqualified and counted-out to save her title. Eve puts the moves on Booker who laughs hysterically at the proposal. Good luck to Eve in her title defense tonight.

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Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Kane have a follow-up session with Dr. Shelby. They agree to tell the good doctor whatever he wants to hear just to get the hell away from him. Shelby walks in and the session begins with a group hug. Each one has to say what they like about each other. Bryan says he likes that Kane is tall and somehow sets things on fire by lowering his hands, and he is a really good dancer. Kane in return says that he thinks Bryan is very agile in the ring, he likes his beard, and the Daniel admits to occasionally wearing women’s clothing. Before they can go, Shelby has one last test. He brings in Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. The doctor says he is going to do some exposure therapy… But Sandow interrupts, correcting the explanation of the therapy as Systematic Desensitization Therapy developed Ivan Pavlov. You’re Welcome. The doctor instructs Sandow and Rhodes to antagonize Kane and Bryan, however the two turn their attention to Dr. Shelby. Sandow corrects him again and Rhodes accuses the doctor of being a failure. Sandow pushes and pushes, then saying that Kane and Bryan would be better off getting advice from Dr. Phil. That sets off Shelby, who then orders Team Hell No to go to town on The Rhodes Scholars. The antagonists are chased away, leaving Daniel Bryan to lead Kane and Shelby in a YES! chant. Greatest segment EVER.

Kane vs. Damien Sandow
Kane takes control at the onset of the match, but Sandow manages to rebound and stuns Kane. Sandow takes down Kane with a side-Russian leg-sweep and beats Kane down, keeping him to the mat. Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain, and then heads to the top rope. Kane dazed, gets to his feet as Sandow leaps… and is caught!! Kane grabs Sandow by the throat and splatters the Lord of Literacy with a massive Chokeslam for the pinfall win.
Winner by Pin: Kane

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Short match, but better than Orton’s performance against Wade Barrett. Team Hell No will defend the World Tag Team Championships against The Rhodes Scholars at the upcoming Royal Rumble event. That will be an awesome match!

The official announcement is made that Mick Foley is the first inductee into the Hall of Fame. Foley comes down to the ring, and is about to speak, but is interrupted by The Shield. Foley is surrounded, but Ryback comes charging down to make the save. The three-on-one assault becomes too much, but Orton and Sheamus rush the ring to ward off the attackers. Ryback hits Shell Shock on Ambrose.

JBL is probably up to eight drinks, as he wondered out loud which of Foley’s personalities is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. There goes my theory of a heel-turn by Orton. Guess he stays babyface for a little longer. Josh Matthews gets in the ring an interviews Ryback. The monster says it’s obvious Shield and Punk are on the same page. Ryback concludes with “Feed Me Shield.”

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They take a look at some outrageous gimmick in the history of Raw.
Man Mountain Rock, Goldust, The Goon, Duke the Dumpster Droese, Bastion Booger, Gillberg, Rockabilly, Sultan, The Who, Damien Demento, Repo Man, Doink, Chad Wellington, Berserker, “The MVP” Abe Knuckleball Schwartz, Mantaur, Boogeyman, Naked Mideon, and “The Man’s Man” William Regal. I probably missed one or two, but good lord that was funny.

Kaitlyn vs. Eve – Divas Title Match
JBL is up to ten drinks. I couldn’t understand a word he said at the beginning of the match. Kaitlyn busts out, er, wrestling moves that is, and Eve plays the scared heel, very well, trying to escape from pinfall predicaments. Eve sucker punches Kaitlyn and takes control, locking the challenger into a triangle hold, but has to break the hold once she reached the ropes. Kaitlyn counters Eve and spikes her backwards with a variation of the Scorpion Death Drop. Wow, this girl can wrestle! Eve fights back and the match spills to the floor where the champion sends the challenger flying into the crowd barrier. Eve throws her into the crowd, hoping for the count-out win. Eve slithers into the ring, but does not notice that Kaitlyn snuck in behind her! The clueless Eve is speared into next week, Kaitlyn makes the cover, and gets the three count!! We have a new Diva Champion!
Winner and New Diva Champion: Kaitlyn

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Wow, color me impressed. I see Kaitlyn as Trish 2.0. Not kidding. She has the talent, the skills, can take a helluva bump. Eve is no slouch either, maybe the Diva division is making a comeback.

Backstage: Josh Matthews interviews Brodus Clay, and replays footage of CM Punk badmouthing the gimmick of Funkasaurus. Clay promises Punk will see a monster tonight, and that pipe-bomb is about to explode in Punk’s face.

Brodus Clay vs. CM Punk (non-title)
This is actually an awesome match. Clay throws Punky around, but the Best in the World regroups and takes control of the match. I hear loud CM Punk chants. Loud. Punk and Clay are really meshing well in the ring. Clay blocks a kick, throws Punk in the corner but misses a splash. Punk knocks down Clay and then drops a huge Macho Man Elbow on his opponent. Punk then locks in the Anaconda Vice and forced Clay to tap out.
Winner by Submission: CM Punk

After the match, Punk says he came to Houston to wrestle, and the Rock is here to do whatever he came here to do. Punk states the facts, he wrestles every Monday Night, at every pay-per-view, while The Rock does his satellite interviews and sing-a-longs. Crowd sounds like they agree with Punk, and if I believed this stuff to be real, I would do.

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Great Moments in Raw History: Vehicles are used a lot, from Austin and the beet truck to DX spray painting McMahon’s limo, Kofi destroying Orton’s car, McMahon getting blown up in his limo, Kane stealing a limo… you get the idea. Pretty fun stuff. Go look it up on YouTube.

Rock and Foley backstage: The two embrace, and Foley keeps using The Rock’s “finally” catchphrase. The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection share some fun, but are interrupted by Vickie Guerrero, who orders them both to shut up. In a shocking move, The Rock had nothing to say. Huh.

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Over the Top Rope Challenge: Sheamus vs. all three members of 3MB.
Well, Sheamus beat them all last week, and uh, I agree with the dozen downed drinks of JBL who says that this handicap match isn’t fair, to 3MB. The trio gang up on the Celtic Warrior but he fights back, planting Mahal and spiking McIntyre on top with a rolling senton. Unfortunately, this match seems like a waste of time, as the jobber trio are unable to eliminate Sheamus no matter how many times they try. Mahal is out first, knocked off the top rope, McIntyre is thrown like a dart, but Slater hangs on. Sheamus goes for the Brough Kick but misses, and with the help of the eliminated Mahal and McIntyre, Sheamus is eliminated, leaving Heath Slater as the winner.
Winner: Health Slater

Post match, Sheamus beats them all up. Interesting, not sure what the purpose of that did. Kinda weird. Why have Sheamus lose? Why have 3MB get a win over him. Weird.

Backstage: Josh Matthews talks to Cena, who rambles on, naming people from the 90’s, including Papa Shango and Los Conquistadors. Cena is ready to take out Ziggler in the Steel Cage Main Event Match!

The Miz comes out and reveals a hint for his guest for Miz TV: WOOOOOO!!!!

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Back from commercial, Miz welcomes us to his show, and brings out the only two-time Hall of Fame inductee, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair! Miz asks what his favorite moment is on Monday Night Raw. Flair says it was the night after WrestleMania, when he had his last match with Shawn Michaels. The two start WOOOOO-ing all over the ring, and this segment becomes a party for Miz who just lived a dream to WOOO with The Man. Miz shows a segment featuring the various catchphrases throughout Raw history. The celebration is interrupted by Antonio Cesaro who runs down Miz and Flair. He verbally assaults Flair, saying he is washed up and has nothing to show except an unpaid bar-tab. The sign for Four Horsemen, the four fingers now represent Flair’s four ex-wives. The segment turns into a brawl, ending with Flair allowing Miz to lock the United States Champion in the figure-four leglock. Post beatdown of Cesaro, Flair hits a knee-drop on his suit-jacket, and then plants an elbow on the grey suit jacket of The Miz.

Awesomely entertaining.

Clips from when Mike Tyson was brought to Monday Night Raw and went face-to-face with Stone Cold.

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan
I get confused, the comedy segment with YES-chants, but he comes out yelling NO. Huh. Anyway, Rhodes takes control early on, and then out-of-nowhere Bryan locks in the Yes-No-Lock and Rhodes taps out fast.
Winner by Submission: Daniel Bryan

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In an exclusive segment, Eve Torres announces she is quitting because she is tired of being humiliated. Well, I did a quick search on Google, and it turns out, her contract had expired and did not renew. Apparently she is engaged to MMA star Rener Gracie. Ugh, well, there goes my hopes of the return of a respectable Diva roster. Why does this always happen?!

Backstage, AJ Lee and Big E. Langston go over their favorite wedding moments. AJ introduces clips of Edge and Lita’s wedding being crashed by Kane, and the disasterous outcome of the Triple H and Stephanie McMahon wedding. Langston showed his favorite, where AJ left Daniel Bryan at the altar to accept the proposal from Mr. McMahon to be the General Manager of Raw. AJ then snaps saying that was her greatest moment ever and Cena ruined it all. Ziggler enters, promising a long night for Cena.

Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena in a Steel Cage Match
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Before the match gets underway, we are joined by Good Ol’ J.R., Jim Ross!!
Match starts even, both men countering and keeping pace until Ziggler hits a picture-perfect dropkick, rivaling Hardcore Bob Holly. Ziggler takes control, scoring two consecutive neckbreakers on Cena. Both men race to the climb the steel, but neither can climb up. Cena goes for an attitude adjustment, but Ziggler tries climbing the cage, but fails. Cena again goes for the AA, but Ziggler escape and nails Cena with the Superkick!! He covers, but only gets a two count. Ziggler instead goes to climb out the cage door, and Big E. tries to help pull Ziggler out, but Cena pulls Ziggler by the legs! Cena wins the tug-of-war, and goes for the STF, but Ziggler counters with the Main Event Sleeper! Cena goes up to the top rope, with Ziggler on his back, and falls backwards, collapsing from the hold, but still breaks it up. Ziggler climbs the cage wall, but leaps down as Cena nearly makes it out the door. Cena fights him off and heads out the door but Langston slams the door on his head! Cena climbs the cage, and goes over, while Ziggler heads out the door! Cena kicks the door into Ziggler, but Langston grabs a chair and starts swinging, causing Cena to retreat back into the cage! Ziggler hits the Zig Zag but Cena kicks out at two! Ziggler and Cena trying to climb up, and Cena throws Ziggler off, but Ziggler catches Cena on the top rope, and plants Cena with a top rope DDT!!! Covers and only a two count! AJ goes crazy on the outside, rips apart the announce table and then climbs up the cage!! She screams like a banshee, as Langston runs in with the Money in the Bank briefcase and brawls with Cena while the Show off grabs the cases, swings, missing Cena, and Ziggler waffles his own man! Cena hits the quick Attitude Adjustment and gets the three count!
Winner by Pinfall: John Cena

You know, I miss the days where the Cage match could only be won by climbing out of the cage. None of this pinfall or submission business. I hope one day they go back to that. This was an outstanding match. Ziggler is uber-talented and Cena impressed me tonight. Once again, when he is in the ring with someone of high caliber like Ziggler, Cena brings the A-game and does not disappoint.

The show is not over yet, we now get…

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The Rock Concert with The Rock
The Rock shows a picture of himself from his Raw debut, wearing his brightly colored gear. The Rock first makes fun of Paul Heyman to the tune of Heartbreak Hotel. The next song is to a special woman, and brings out Vickie Guerrero to an Eric Clapton tune. It sounds nice as he gently rips into her, calling her a hooker, and not the expensive kind. “Bee-otch, you look horrible tonight.” That was pretty funny. Up next, The Rock calls out CM Punk to the ring. Out comes the WWE Champion, with Paul Heyman in tow. Rock remembers Punk saying Rock facing him will be like boxing with God. Rock reminds Punk that he is not the Almighty and he will beat him at the Royal Rumble for the title. Punk charges the ring, and Rock meets him on the floor where the two brawl as referees valiantly try and fail to separate the two men. Booker T, Arn Anderson, Fit Finaly, and Jamie Noble (What? When did he start working in WWE again??) jump in and break up the fight, as the 20th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw comes to a close.

For starters, this was an incredible show. WWE really delivered. I don’t care what the dirtsheets say. Vince McMahon delivered. I will say I am sad to see Eve leave WWE. She is talented and one of the talents Divas. We have new champion Kaitlyn, who I have high faith for. We also have Tamina Snuka, who is doing a whole lot of nothing, and Natalya, who is either farting or making Canadian love to The Great Khali. I do not want to think about that too long, as I may choose to kill myself. The Rock vs. Punk segment was short, but got the point across. The matches were fantastic. Cena vs. Ziggler was pay-per-view quality, and while the undercard mostly had shorter matches, nearly all of them were very good. WWE knocked this one out of the park.

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