WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 9, 2012) at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, featuring all the fallout from Chris Jericho's epic return to the company last week.
Or not so epic, depending on how you look at it. One thing we can all agree on is that it should be very interesting to see where this angle goes from here. The jacket, in all its glory, will hopefully return tonight, as well.
One surprising aspect of WWE programming of late has been the relative lack of promotion for the Royal Rumble, which is just three weeks away. Sure, they've mentioned it a few times and played plenty of promos (featuring the talented Santino Marella, of all guys) but there's been little focus on the actual match.
That could be because they just haven't bothered to work it in but it could also be because they're still trying to figure out just who the hell is going to win it. Will it be Randy Orton with his bad back? How about Sheamus with his incredibly white skin? Or maybe John Morrison returns and shocks the world.
Ha. And maybe I'll win a Pulitzer.
John Cena will undoubtedly be in the building, fending off further advances from Kane and his dreaded choke glove. Let's just hope Zack Ryder isn't around this time.
The fun kicks off at 9 p.m. ET on USA, Cagesiders, so be sure to come back and enjoy the show with all your favorite commenters. It's always a fun time. Raw live blog after the jump.
WWE RAW RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG JAN. 9
Broadcast is live.
Opening promo shows Cena getting a clean pin over Jack Swagger. Gotta make sure to get that in, of course, before showing the Kane replay where he choke gloved Cena and tried to take advantage of poor little Zack Ryder by dragging him into his hole in the ring.
No Nickelback to kill the mood before the show open. Just an explosion and Kane making his way out with both masks on again. Jerry Lawler selling like he's legitimately scared with this opening to the show.
"I think Kane is just trying to spread the hatred."
They give him his own lighting, the dark red. Promo time.
"I see the disappointing looks. I hear the weak little whispers. Questioning me, wondering why I embrace hate. Not only are you deplorably predictable, you are in denial. You all get up next to a spouse that you can't stand. Then you go to a job which you despise. And then you come home to children that you say you love but deep down, you think to yourself that they're nothing but soft spoiled little disappointments.
"You all live lives filled with pure hate."
He's screaming now, guys. I'm scared.
"But you don't embrace it. Either because you're too cowardly or because you filled your lives with delusions of hope like John Cena."
Pop. Not a big one.
"Cena represents hope. He represents success. He represents all the things that you people aspire to achieve ... but cannot. When you see John Cena, what you should be seeing are your own failures, your shortcomings, your unfulfilled dreams.
"And it should anger you. And it does. You see, when you say, 'Cena sucks,' what you're really saying is that you suck. And you do. Because you refuse to embrace the hate which is bubbling up inside you. You like to think of yourselfs as decent human beings but your all liars. You think that cheering for an underdog makes you good and decent. I mean, look at Zack Ryder. You -- you -- made him a star. But that proves nothing. Last week, I was seconds away from dragging that vessel of your vocarious elation, Zack Ryder, down to the depths of hell.
"But John Cena stopped that. But all Cena did was delay the inevitable. Because unlike you people, I always get what I want and what I want are consequences. Consequences for refusing to embrace hate."
Finally, Cena's music hits.
He comes out, takes the shirt off and hauls ass to the ring to take Kane out, which he does with ease. They brawl to the outside and go back and forth. All the way to the locker room they go with a camera following close behind. Randomly placed actors get run into and run over as Kane takes advantage and smashes Cena's head into walls and doors and whatever else he can find.
Now they've made their way outside where we see the WWE trucks. They tease a bump with Kane falling off a ledge but don't follow through. Instead, Cena grabs a crowbar and cracks Kane with it.
Not very nice of you, John. Nor very heroic.
Kane tosses him onto a pile of garbage. By the time he gets up, Kane has disappeared.
What the hell was that segment?
In typical WWE style, they immediately replay what we just saw about one minute ago. They must think the WWE Universe has short term memory loss.
Tag team match-up next.
Sheamus and Santino Marella vs. Wade Barrett and Jinder Mahal -- Out of nowhere, Cole tells us all four of these guys will be in the Rumble on Jan. 29 and fails miserably to sell it like it's information worth knowing. Two of these cats should have a legit shot at winning but it certainly didn't sound like Cole wants us to know that.
Then again, he has no f*cking clue how to get guys over.
Mahal stars with Marella and shockingly the match has lasted longer than six seconds, which is longer than most Santino matches. The heels work over Marella and the crowd in Texas couldn't give a sh*t less. Wait, they come to life with a brief and quiet chant.
What is this, a bingo hall? Feels like it.
Nothing fancy here, just Barrett and Mahal trading off kicking the dog out of Santino. He finally makes his comeback with a forearm and neckbreaker. Gets the hot tag to Sheamus, who cleans house and does his forearms to the back spot. Not long after, he hits a Brogue Kick and asks Santino if he wants in so he can get the Cobra and the pin.
He hits it and it gets the three count.
Sheamus wasn't asked to sell anything at all in that match. That was a complete waste of time.
The Miz is backstage complaining about how it's not fair that R-Truth has been physically assaulting him. Camera pans to John Laurinaitis, who introduces himself and says he doesn't have time for this crap. Tells us tonight is the debut of Brodus Clay.
Miz wants him to get him some protection. Laurinaitis says, "You're not my problem. And I'm not a little Jimmy. I'm big Johnny."
Holy sh*t, this man is awesome.
Lawler tells us they will announce the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class 2012 up next.
Mil Mascaras is the actual first inductee but apparently they forgot about him. Anyway, they announce Edge as the next inductee with a video package showcasing his career highlights to the song "Tonight" by Seether.
It's pretty cool for me to see this, personally, because I've been there with Edge since back in the late 90s when he was with Christian. I attended a show when they did the pose for "the benefit of those with flash photography." And to see him go all the way from the mid-card as a tag champ that never looked the part of a world champion to headlining multiple WrestleManias was a damn cool thing.
Not that it's much of a Hall of Fame but congratulations to Edge.
Backstage and Miz is talking to Mason Ryan. Batista part deux just smiles and walks off.
Cut to Ryder and he's telling his dad he's scared as hell of Kane. Eve shows up and he changes his tune and tries to act tough. She wants to know if he's okay. He asks her out and she says yes but only after her match against Beth Phoenix tonight.
Hey, promotion for the Diva's!
Ryder walks off and they show a door opening with Kane slowly showing himself for a second before fading back behind the door.
Sigh. Cheese on full effect, guys. He's stalking Ryder now. Poor guy.
Time for the non-title match advertised earlier.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston -- Bryan doing his version of the Kurt Angle gimmick from back in the early 2000's. They replay Smackdown from last week showing Bryan retaining the title through nefarious means and then acting like he's the greatest afterward.
They trade near falls early before Kofi goes for the crossbody and Bryan counters with the LeBell Lock. Looked like an odd landing but Bryan was just setting up his finish and it actually looked okay on second viewing. He gets the tap from it and wins in about 25 seconds.
He, of course, does his best Diego Sanchez and heads for the barricade to hoist his title while shouting yes, even though this was a non-title match. I love it.
Suddenly, Big Show's music hits and Bryan goes over and grabs a mic. Show puts his beanie on some kid's head in the audience and climbs in the ring with his own mic.
Bryan says he hated how their title match ended on Smackdown with Mark Henry getting involved. "I'm a fighting champion, okay. I will give you a world title match whenever you want."
Show says he's really happy about that and they're going to have their rematch this Friday on Smackdown and it's a no disqualification, no countout match. "So good luck, champ."
They shake hands before Show bails to the back and Bryan looks tentative while Cole wonders aloud just how it is Bryan will keep his title this time.
They advertise Jericho for later tonight. A feint cheer is heard in the crowd. Huh.
CM Punk vs. Jack Swagger tonight as a primer for Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler.
Uh-oh, they show a locker room door that has Brodus Clay's name on it. He's debuting live next, folks!
How great would it be if they came back from break and Laurinaitis came out of that locker room and was on the phone telling Clay they'll get him in next week?
Rumble promo on the way back in and a highlight package of the 1994 Rumble that saw both Bret Hart and Lex Luger awarded the victory.
From Planet Funk, the Funkasaurus, Brodus Clay.
What the hell is this crap?
Oh my god, he's wearing a red sweatsuit and dancing his way to the ring to some bad funk music. He's got two women with him and they're now int he ring doing some steps.
"Oh, you didn't see that coming!"
That's what Clay shouted after pyro hit from the turnbuckles to signal the end of the entrance. This is worse trolling than what Jericho did.
Lawler and Cole are just laughing on commentary. Clay is actually gyrating and creepily shaking his ass at Curt Hawkins. He's shouting out spots and and then apologizing for them.
Back to dancing in the ring with a terrible red bodysuit. Oh my god, this is hilarious.
Ugh. Zack Ryder backstage and brushing his teeth, telling himself how great he is for finally going out with Eve. Naturally, this is just to set up the spot with the mirror where Kane appears in the background but he never sees him.
Miz asks Epico and Primo for protection but gets shut down. Punk walks up and laughs at him while he walks away.
CM Punk vs. Jack Swagger -- I understand the idea behind doing this but no way in hell should Job Swagger EVER be in a match against Punk. Oh okay, Laurinaitis interrupts. He wants Punk to know he's fair. Adds a stipulation to this here match. If Punk wins tonight, Swagger and Vickie Guerrero won't be able to be ringside at the Rumble.
Shouldn't that be the case anyway? Whatever, it works.
Oh and Ziggler is going one-on-one with Cena later tonight "just to keep him in shape."
Mr. Excitement strikes again!
CM Punk chant breaks out before the match starts and Cole starts wondering who Laurinaitis is texting all the time. They show that Brodus Clay is trending #1 WorldWide.
That means he's a big deal, you guys.
Punk and Swagger are having a snoozer of a match. Chain wrestling and rest holds, even though the match just started. Despite the slow pace and sleep-inducing nature of the work in the ring, the crowd chants for the WWE champion. He knocks Swagman down and goes for the Flying Elbow Drop but Jack rolls out of the ring and regroups with his crew.
Lateral press and Punk is in control as they get back going inside the ring. They're working ridiculously slow and it's killing the crowd, which was kind of dead to begin with. Swagger goes for the Ankle Lock but gets countered. He comes back, though, and takes control with knees in the corner.
Is someone injured? This is a terrible match. And it's the start of the second hour spot. Oh god, Swagger tried a roll up and almost broke Punk's leg. Good job, dummy, the one chance you get to work with the champ and you damn near put him out for months on end.
They set up a spot outside with Ziggler about to attack a prone Punk but Laurinaitis calling him off. Punk regains control back on the apron and hits a suicide dive to the outside.
Swagger gets a near fall off a big boot back from break. I missed a little action for a piss break but came back for Punk hitting his high knee in the corner. Misses the bulldog, which Swagger uses to hit the press off the ropes. Doesn't get the pin, though, and starts yelling at Punk to stay down.
"Why won't you just die?"
Really, Jack? Really? Hits another few spots and again misses a pin and again starts screaming at Punk and claiming he's better.
I hate this. Punk is selling for him big but Swagger doesn't deserve this treatment. Maybe I'm part of the problem in thinking that and Punk is the solution by actually acting like Swagger is something of a threat and treating his offense like it's credible.
I don't know.
Meanwhile Punk comes back and does the Savage tribute. The ref counts three but Swagger's shoulder went shooting up at the end. Ref calls for the bell and the match and Punk is screaming, "motherf*cker" at the referee. They show the replay and Punk immediately went to lock in the Anaconda Vice after Swagger put his shoulder up. That was a definite botch by the ref.
They even show the slow motion replay with Swagger deliberately staring at the ref to know when to kick out. What a horrible match that started slow, almost saved itself but ended with a referee forgetting the match ending.
Can you imagine Vince McMahon right now? If Punk is screaming cuss words at the referee in the middle of the ring, I can't imagine what that poor ref is going to face when he gets to the gorilla position.
Another replay airs of Kane and Cena earlier in the night.
Cut to Cena and Ryder yapping back and forth. Ryder kissing Cena's ass. They plug Ryder's Twitter and continue to push the Kane storyline like he might pop out at anytime. Since, you know, he's a stalker who wants to do evil to everyone.
Embrace the hate, y'all. Or rise above it. Something.
The Bellas are arguing in the back. Ricardo Rodriguez shows up and wants to know why they wanted him to come up from Mexico. "Haven't you heard of a cell phone?"
Suddenly Miz shows up and says Rodriguez needs to go to the ring and call out R-Truth. Either that or he'll get put on injured reserve like Alberto Del Rio.
By Miz? Yeah, right.
Nonetheless, he agrees.
Time for the next inductee into the Hall of Fame. It's not just one guy, it's four.
The Four Horsemen.
I'm a little shocked by this, because Ric Flair is getting plenty of play on WWE TV right now and he's still doing his thing in TNA.
Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Barry Windham are going in this year.
"Diamonds are forever and so are the Horsemen."
Back to the ring and Rodriguez is there and looking scared as shit. He says he hopes Miz is watching this. Calls R-Truth really bad and his mom fat and ugly. Says Truth smells like a wet donkey and his breath stinks really bad.
Truth's music hits and apparently he hasn't been watching the show.
It's a setup, Truth!
Rodriguez is literally crying at this point. Truth intros himself by saying, "Oh Lucy, I'm home."
Truth cuts another insan-o promo asking all the little Jimmy's if he should let Ricardo go. They reply with a collective, "No."
"Uh-oh. Little Jimmy don't think much of you, Ricardo. Little Jimmy want me to turn you into a human pinata."
"Miz, Miz, Miz, Miz."
"Calm down, man, you bugging out like a little cock-a-roach."
This is painful.
Truth asks him to sing a song and Rodriguez goes off like a boss. Truth asks for an encore by saying, "One mo again."
Finally, Ricardo knocks the mic out of Truth's hand and he gets knocked out for his troubles. Finally, Miz shows up and works over Truth. They end up brawling back and forth but the crowd never cared.
About a half hour left in the show and that's the slot they're using for Jericho. He's next.
Justin Roberts introduces Chris Jericho by saying he's the only man to ever beat Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock in the same night.
The lights go out and that can only mean one thing. The Jacket is back.
And there it is, in all its glory.
He's pumping up the crowd again and smiling and shaking hands on his way to the ring. For what it's worth, they're cheering him and clapping. He's in full on troll mode again. Pointing to the crowd and calling for cheers. More laps around the ring to shake hands and pose.
This was fine last week, I don't think it's going to go over if he doesn't talk again this week.
Now he's in the ring and cutting the crowd in half and asking for a cheer off, which they oblige him.
"I love you, thank you," he mouths.
He grabs a mic and his music finally shuts off. Before he can speak, they chant "Y2J."
He gets up on the second turnbuckle and plays up the crowd some more. They keep chanting and I fear if they drag out this non-talking gimmick it actually might get over just because it's not supposed to.
He looks out at the crowd and he acts like he's crying now. Ha. God.
The camera is super close up on him and he's doing his best to get some real tears going. The crowd isn't turning on him ... at all. I finally hear some boos.
He sets the mic down and his music hits. Off he goes again. Still no words.
HA. He gets to the top of the ramp and turns around and cries while thumping his chest and then pointing out to the crowd with a thumbs up.
Oh, Jericho. You bastard.
Eve hits the ring for the Diva's match she talked about earlier but when they go to intro Beth Phoenix, Kane's music hits. She acts scared sh*tless and Ryder comes running out to grab her and run away with her.
Lawler and Cole are really playing this up, too.
Cut to the camera's in the parking lot showing Ryder rushing Eve into a car.
OH NO, THE TIRE IS FLAT!
Ryder keeps Eve in the car and tells her to lock the door while he tries to change the flat tire out. What in the hell am I watching?
Ryder still struggling to change the tire out coming back from break. Meanwhile, Ziggler is already in the ring. He didn't get a TV entrance over Ryder struggling to change a tire.
Cena comes out to a less enthusiastic pop than usual but that's likely because this crowd sucks. It's also 11 p.m. ET already, so I can't imagine this lasts long. Please don't squash Ziggler here, it makes no damn sense. Gut feeling? Ryder shown getting punked in front of Eve on the jumbotron giving Ziggler a chance to steal a win.
The match starts with Ziggler showing off because he's the best damn thing going today. Headlock turns into a drop toehold from Cena. Reversal from Ziggler and a two count. Stomping a mudhole in Cena in the corner.
Didn't walk it dry, though.
The crowd only comes alive to deliver chants and they've started up with the dueling Cena chant.
Holy sh*t, Ziggler is a god. He puts Cena in a headlock and while he has him on the mat with it, does a headstand, holding the headlock the entire time.
He keeps smashing Cena and after putting him down long enough, shows off by doing three sit ups. Man, this guy actually gets better and better.
Hey, there's the jumbotron and Kane shows up to punk out Ryder in front of his girlfriend. And in the ring, Ziggler takes advantage of the distracted Cena.Ryder takes a chokeslam onto some wood panels.
Oh my god. They have Cena chase after Ryder and Ziggler jumps on his back but Cena smashes him against the steel steps. The ref just counts them both out and I guess that's that match.
Cena chases outside and Kane shows up to glove choke Cena right next to where Ryder took the chokeslam a minute prior. Once again, Cena gets choked out and the show ends with Kane standing there looking over the destruction he caused and breathing heavy.
The stalker wins!
Fade to black.