No Big Show Baby, No Peace: Raw Regurgitated, 12/30 (with Angry Andy!)

It’s the final Raw of the year…and half the roster is in another country.  That will either be a fantastic way to showcase mid-card guys as real stars while featuring long, quality matches… or prove how little the crowd cares about guys not named Bryan, Punk, Cena, and Orton.

CM Punk can do no wrong with the WWE Universe.  He may not have the perfect body, but he’s perfect on the mic, and perfect in the ring.  The next time he wrestles Seth Rollins, there should be a title on the line.  The ROHbots will go wild…even if this match was way sloppier than anything these guys have done in a long time.

If Dean Ambrose doesn’t end his career as the longest-reigning WWE champion of all time, then something went horribly wrong.

***

Brad Maddox sets the gauntlet for D-Bry.  Steph and Trips get paid to stand there, nodding.  There are way too many non-wrestling authority figures on this wrestling show.  And the more WWE introduces, the more half-rate copycats TNA will introduce.  What the hell is a Rockstar Spud?

John Cena gets the WWE title shot at Royal Rumble.  He’s not the champion and he’s not injured, so it’s only natural he’s getting the title shot.

There’s only one thing I’m hoping for, in regards to Batista’s return.  Rey Mysterio gets absolutely annihilated for the hundredth time.  YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE MAH FRIEND!

***

Oh cool, they’re using the box-in-box promos for Ziggler/Axel.  Those are such an effective tool, that WWE often forgets it has.

If Curtis Axel was half as over as he is talented, he’d be in the main event.  Beating Ziggler.

I think the interactivity of Raw is a good thing.  Giving the fans a chance to pick Sandow’s opponent is cool… but why?  You’d think the smartest guy on the roster would question why the fans are picking his opponent in a match with no pay-off.

***

Big E defends the IC belt against Fandango.  Lawler can’t tell if he’s supposed to stare at Summer Rae’s chest, or Langston’s.  Langston continues to build an impressive résumé of decisive title defenses.  Fandango continues to regain the momentum he lost after his debut win at Wrestlemania. Everyone wins.

WHY are they still flying Booker T in to all these cities? Does he have a quota RE: how many times he gets to say “SUCCCKKKKKKAAAA” each year written into his contract? The best part of this segment was Bad News Barrett rising from nowhere to deliver some painful truths. All he had to say was “out of everyone on your TV screen right now, I’m the only one with a gimmick.  Or a future.”

Sandow acknowledges the way he’s being mistreated.  I take a deep breath and say “thank you for using logic, WWE Creative Team!”

The crowd votes for Great Khali to be Damien Sandow’s opponent, because (as Nick would say) God is dead.  That should be all the proof you need that the “who’s the face?” feud between Miz and Kingston isn’t helping ANYONE, even if it’s leading to some of the better matches either has had in … ever.

***

I can’t be the only one who wanted Xavier Woods to say “R-Truth and I were once tag champions in the world’s biggest televised Indy wrestling company!”

Brodus Clay’s heel turn has been pretty decent.  Too bad the crowd doesn’t seem to care. At. All.

***

Triple H offers a handshake to the guy who broke his arm TWICE.  Two years of a bitter blood feud washed away.  Best for business, huh?

“Eat, sleep, conquer, repeat.”  Paul Heyman is brilliant on the mic.  Brock Lesnar? Not so much.

BrockThrutheLookingGlass

Mark Henry responds to Lesnar’s open challenge and is promptly tackled through the security barricade and then  F5’d on the arena floor for his troubles.  Hopefully, Lesnar earns the title match he claims to deserve by continuing to execute WWE’s big men.

***

We get yet another Total Divas vs everyone else clusterkerfuffle tag match.  This time, it’s 5-on-5.  These matches are designed to promote the show that’s designed to promote the matches on Raw.  These are pretty much the opposite of the great work they are doing with guys like Big E. and Fandango: The fans don’t know who to cheer for, (literally) nobody gets over and (figuratively) nobody wins.

Tribute to the Troops is the best thing WWE does all year. It would be even better if they didn’t spend so much time patting themselves on the back about it.

***

Daniel Bryan vs the Wyatt Family in a gauntlet-style battle of the beards, which is great, because the crowd LOVES Daniel Bryan, especially when he is overcoming the odds. Even though he does the exact same thing in almost every match.  But, since he has like, 8 moves, and not, say, 5, he’s the best and John Cena is the worst. Makes sense.

Bray Wyatt is probably the best heel on WWE TV, and that’s before he gets anywhere near the ring.

Letting Luke Harper carry the work for his team is pretty smart since, you know, he’s the one who can actually work.

This show feels shockingly fresh without John Cena and Randy Orton.  Probably not what you want me thinking when you’re trying to sell me yet another pay-per-view with those two headlining. Just saying.

Bray Wyatt has an incredible presence, and accomplishes a lot without actually doing much.  He’s a true star in the making.  Vince & Co must count their lucky stars on a daily basis.  If he was anyone else, he would have been let go for that awful first run as Husky Harris.  But instead, he was given the opportunity to reinvent himself in a brilliant way, and become one of wrestling’s biggest stars.  He’s found money.

So did Daniel Bryan just turn heel?  Did he turn the Wyatts face, by talking about how “the machine” would never let him win?  I’m confused, I’m intrigued, and I honestly cannot wait to see what happens next, because I did NOT see this coming.

This was a good show, with good, long matches, and largely logical booking.  Hopefully, the ratings agree, and we can get more shows like this one.