This week’s RAW demonstrated the perfect telling story template; it produced a solid beginning middle and an end. Let’s break it down.
Mick Foley returned to TV. He addressed the fact that he has been doing some silly gimmicks recently in the ‘This is your life’ and ‘Santa Claus’ segments and proclaimed that he could win the Royal Rumble. Dolph Ziggler entered the ring and shot him down. He gave the legitimate argument that why should he be considered when there are guys in the back who have been busting their ass for well over a year only to be shoved aside for some washed up wrestler who wants some more limelight.
This segment did wonders. Ziggler has without doubt proven he is capable of mixing it with the best in between the ropes and on the microphone. Praise must be given to Mick Foley as he sold the response from Ziggler like a knife to the heart. Foley’s face expression work was fantastic and drew me in to a possible feud I didn’t think was possible. The segment went well because it spoke truth and this beginning was a nice way of possibly introducing these two as a match for WrestleMania. People mentioned to me on Twitter that this is what happened with Randy Orton and Edge. Foley returned and gave these guys a push, which he did. But can it be done with Ziggler? Foley put these guys over by having hardcore matches with them where they beat him fair and square. Ziggler will have a hard time looking good if he just beats a hardcore legend in a standard wrestling match. Question is. Will WWE let them do something remotely hardcore? Only time will tell.
The tag team championship match was next. Air Boom lost the titles on a house show which was the first alarm bell and they unsurprisingly lost their rematch on RAW too. Bourne hit a great Hurricanrana from the top and the way he takes the back stabber is phenomenal! Then the new broke about Evan Bourne’s second suspension from the company. This is sad to see because Bourne is a good talent but I have no sympathy for someone who has just been burned and decides to jump in the fire again. The fact of the matter is that this isn’t just affecting Bourne’s career, it’s affecting Kofi’s and destroying what’s left of the tag team division.
David Otunga was in another backstage segment with John Laurinaitis. Not only has Otunga made sure his coffee cup matches the colour of his jumper, he has also included an annoying slurp every time he takes a sip from the damn thing! It’s all about the small things, eh?
Jericho then entered the office only to leave Laurinaitis and himself in the dark with his flashing jacket. Funny stuff but how does something like that conclude? Does John awkwardly ask for Chris to put the light back on? Or does Chris just leave him in the dark? I need answers dammit!
We cut to Zack Ryder having an interview with Josh regarding his injury status. Now I have never been a massive fan for Ryder but I appreciate what he has done to get himself noticed. With that being said I can’t help but feel he’s throwing this opportunity away. His selling of the injury in the interview couldn’t have been delivered any more poorly. Get your act together Zack!
The video that WWE played from last week highlighting the ‘flat tyre’ scene was edited supremely well! They made it look dramatic where in actual fact it was fairly pathetic.
Ryder then had his match with Swagger and lost the US Title in the process. Do I think this is WWE throwing Zack to the side? No this is just part of the process but I still believe that Zack needs to up his game on the microphone. His selling of the injury throughout the match was quite fair to be honest.
Perez Hilton then decided to come out and make us realise why RAW Guest Hosts were awful. I have no idea what this segment was designed to do or achieve, appalling to say the least. The only thing that surprised me was the fact that he wore an old RAW is WAR T-Shirt which I thought WWE banned because of events in Iraq and Afghanistan? Either way I don’t think they noticed because I don’t think anybody was watching anyway.
WWE then played a recap from the 1992 Rumble when Flair won the WWE Championship. Who can forget that line “With a tear in my eye...” Tremendous!
Barrett and R Truth had a verbal battle which had numerous highlights. Barrett using the word ‘Git’ is always a plus! (Classic British insult!) R Truth asking if Barrett wanted to see his slideshow and Barrett instantly saying no and finally the Pinocchio picture where R Truth even screamed “I don’t even know if that’s PG!” I couldn’t help but chuckle. Truth might not be as good when he is a face but he’s still entertaining.
Sheamus and Miz soon got in the mix and Teddy Long decided to shock the world when he came out and made a Battle Royale and not a tag team match! R Truth was the victor but it hardly made anyone believe that he could actually win the Rumble!
The next segment had Cena firing off on Laurinaitis in his office. I had to double the volume on my TV for this segment as I could not hear a word Laurinaitis was saying!
Cena then decided to come out and destroy Swagger for taking his friends US title. Cena showed some ‘hate’ as he started throwing Swagger round like a bowling ball and again proved that he cannot move the steel steps without looking like a total fool. Nobody is under the illusion that those steps weight 300 pounds but he makes it his damndest to make it look that way! If only he made that kind of effort to sell to his opponents? Whoops! At least Kane promising that Cena will continue on his slippery slope will progress the story along nicely.
Brodus Clay squashed JTG in another match filled with comedy. The man seems at ease with the gimmick and although it might not have legs in the long run I still stand by that this is a good bit of fun which breaks the show up.
The main event was a 6 man tag which included Jericho. Jericho unsurprisingly managed to find a way of not speaking again. He abandoned the match after getting tagged in and I truly believe this man will not say a word until after he has WON the Royal Rumble.
Mick Foley returned and interjected himself in to the main event and got the win. Only for Laurinaitis to come out and say that he is not a legal competitor. This is all well and fine but the contradiction from earlier was ridiculous. Zack Ryder wrestles when he doesn’t have to, the main event result gets reversed but the same didn’t happen for Ryder? He’s lost his championship yet Mark Henry got his title back after Bryan cashed in because he was not legally cleared to compete? I know this was the direction they wanted but it would be nice for some continuity.
Punk then decided to drop another pipebomb on Laurinaitis. This promo was full of passion and finished the night off on a high. Then to add icing to the cake, Punk leaves, Laurinaitis flips and hits Foley with the mic (A pretty good shot too!)
WWE might have dropped the ball on some of the little things here but in the overall picture it did a good job building towards the Rumble. This RAW felt like it was two shows combined with the amount that happened. Just look at the length of this article! It had a solid opening, some meat in the middle and finished off in style!
WWE teased a rivalry between Foley/Laurinaitis or Foley/Ziggler in the future. They promoted the Royal Rumble with Sheamus, Barrett, Miz and R Truth. They continued the story with Cena and Kan, still managed to keep Jericho silent and they also got their groove on with the funkasaurus! Overall I would say that it is a good work in progress. It will be interesting to see how WWE go in to the ‘go-home’ shows of RAW and Smackdown next week as the Rumble card is still fairly light and I’m sure some match ups will become named.
This year’s Rumble is one of those rare ones where there isn’t necessarily a stand out winner for the event this year. Even though I believe that Jericho will win they could go in many directions such as Rhodes, Ziggler, Cena, McIntyre, Orton, Barrett, Miz, Kane or even Ryder?