WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Dec. 10, 2012) from New Jersey, featuring the go home show to the TLC pay-per-view (PPV) this coming Sunday night in Brooklyn.
This show has received a mixed bag in initial reviews and now it's my turn to sink my teeth in. Let's get right to it, ladies and sirs.
- CM Punk saying he's been WWE champion for "388 days with no signs of slowing down" was so cute as he was standing there with his crutch and bum knee that was recently operated on. Also that whole pending match with a wrestler who is more famous than Punk could ever hope to be and will almost surely be taking the belt from him. Heel it up and all that but don't expect me to not yawn and think you ridiculous.
- This whole thing with Vince McMahon goading Vickie Guerrero into making matches was cute at first but has quickly become annoying, mostly because Vince is awesomely entertaining and Vickie is terribly annoying. Give me Mr. McMahon back, please, and get Mrs. Nuclear Heat off my television. Or at least give her something else to do.
- Oh, Brad Mad Ox, you disappoint me. He really is on his own out there, which makes me wonder what they're going to do with him. They may have answered that when they had him assist Vickie Guerrero, assuring AJ Lee jobbed in her hometown and got to go abosolutely ape shit after losing. I'm not sure why everyone loves when she does that, but they do, especially if it involves slapping the taste out of Justin Roberts' mouth. Can't believe that dude still has lips. Add another one to the already awesome highlight reel. FIVE FANGAS, B*TCH.
- Speaking of AJ, was John Cena kinda creepy in his interactions with her last night or was that just me? He was doing this weird thing where he was obviously supposed to be showing her some affection but he was acting like he actively didn't want to touch her in any way that could be perceived as romantic or sexual, which is totally not where this was supposed to be headed. Right? I'm actually pretty confused about the entire thing at this point. That might actually be a good thing.
- Seriously, though, it's good to see Cody back and it's even better to see WWE book him right back into his tag team with Damien Sandow. Better still is WWE having them win a four-way match to earn a number one contender match at the PPV. It all just makes so much sense. Wait, this is still WWE, right?
- Oh, Hornswoggle and Great Khali helping Vickie Guerrero stretch in sexually suggestive positions while she moaned and wanted them to stretch her further and find that right spot only to have McMahon come in and deliver the cheesy "I thought this was supposed to be a family show" line. Yeah, that's right, this is still WWE.
- I gather I'm supposed to care about an Intercontinental champion vs. U.S. champion match? I didn't. Pooey. Kofi Kingston was pretty good on commentary during R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett, though.
- If I started a petition to get WWE to never, ever air another "episode" of MizTV on any of its television properties again, how many folks do you think we could get to sign it? Will you sign it? In the comments right now. Go do that now and come back up here to read the rest. ... Back? Fuck Miz. No, really, he's awful, and MizTV is awful and The Miz trying to make fun of The Rhodes Scholars is just the worst way to book him as a babyface because he looks so much worse than the supposed heels. Who wasn't cheering Sandow and Rhodes by the end of that? Can Paul Bearer come back and align himself with Miz so Kane and Undertaker will kill them both off?
- Dolph Ziggler was good on commentary during the main event and I think we can all officially stop acting like WWE isn't giving him a fair shake because he's now getting every opportunity to get himself over and prove his worth. He's making the most of it, too. Also thought he handled the question about cashing in the briefcase rather well. Of course he's waiting for the right opportunity, one that might not present itself before Sunday night. That's logical enough.
- The camera work for the main event segment when the Shield ran out was kind of cool because it was symbiotic of the chaos they bring but it damn near gave me a seizure. I'd like to follow the action in and outside the ring, not burst into a fit of convulsions because WWE thinks wildly shaking the camera means ACTION. The absolute mayhem of it was great, though, and as Jim Ross pointed out o Twitter, it felt like old Attitude Era finishes. Just madness on the go home show headed to the PPV where everyone is brawling and fucking shit up in anticipation of the match six days later. Great stuff.
- Something about Roman Reigns has been off for me since he first showed up but I haven't been able to put my finger on exactly what that was. That is until they aired the handheld video The Shield shot and Reigns spoke. Immediately, it clicked. He looks and sounds just like Vamp from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Dead ringer.
- To that end, Ryback is being booked perfectly and not actually having him work silly squash matches and only running in to destroy The Shield is doing wonders for him. That's not only masking his flaws, that's emphasizing his strengths. Perfection.
For the most part, this was a severely underwhelming show. It started slow, barely picked up at any point in the middle but finished really strong. That's a good thing for a go home show, the finishing strong part, at least, but overall it's hard to feel too high on this.
You were probably better off watching the New England Patriots take the Houston Texans out behind the woodshed.
That's it from me, though, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off on last night's show and you know I want to hear your take on it. Give me some grades.