WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Dec. 24, 2012) from Pittsburgh, featuring a taped show for the holidays that was all about the season, laughing, and having fun.
Click here for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get right to reactions:
- If you did like me and went into last night's show with the understanding that it was done purely in the name of comedy and having fun, then you probably had a good time. And why not? It's okay to let yourself get swept up in the goofy camp stuff for one show.
- I actually thought the show long Santa Claus angle was done better than most of the serious angles we get during regular episodes throughout the rest of the year. Alberto Del Rio has been a heel for years and he's never gotten as much heat as he did than when he ran over Santa in the opening segment. Doing a stretcher job with Ricardo Rodriguez dry heaving and crying in the background was hilarious. The crowd knew the score right away and chanted "You killed San-ta" while Del Rio and Rodriguez were all broken up about it. How fun would it have been to be in that crowd chanting that?
- The rest of the evening Santa stuff just got better. Booker T coming out to tell a crowded group that "Santa's down" while Titus O'Neil shouted about having kids was phenomenal. You could tell they were having fun with the subject matter. Then Del Rio came in and John Cena jumped in the mix to deliver his Anchorman homage. I also loved how Booker was totally cool with allowing a concussed Santa to book a match for the main event of the show. Even writing this out makes me smile.
- The best part of all this? Michael Cole and Matt Striker taking it so super serious. Normally, that would offend me because of wrestling's history of tragedy but this was a fictional character and we all knew what they were doing. Cutting back to Striker for an update just so he could say there was no update but they'll keep us updated? People, that's genius.
- The height of the comedic genius during this show was the main event. Cena was his goofy over the top self but that only served to assist the two awesome moments when Del Rio opened two separate presents looking for weapons. The first revealed a pie, so Del Rio could chide Rodriguez by asking "are you stupid?" The second, and this was the best, was a teddy bear. When Del Rio looked at it in despair before saying fuck it and chucking it at Cena, I've never marked so hard for a comedy spot in all my time watching wrestling. I LOVED this and I hope you got a kick out of it too.
- Now, if we were to get serious for a second and look at this without my rose colored glasses on, I'm not so sure about the message being sent in all this. Del Rio made his entrance in his car but ran into Santa Claus. There was nothing to indicate that he did this on purpose and, in fact, both he and his manager, Rodriguez, spent the entire rest of the show acting really broken up and upset about the situation. Del Rio apologized to members of the crowd at various points, and attempted to tell everyone in the back that he didn't mean to hit Santa and it was an accident that it happened. Despite this, the supposed babyfaces call him a liar -- this not long after Del Rio supposedly turned, taping schedule be damned -- tell him they know for a fact he did it on purpose without presenting any evidence to back up this claim, book him in a street fight against SuperCena, and humiliate him during said street fight with fire extinguishers and the like. That spot where he was literally begging Cena not to spray him while still trying to explain it was an accident and Cena laughing him off? Ugh. He even had his legal representation, David Otunga, pleading his case for him and making some damn good points before yet another supposed babyface, Zack Ryder, came out and told him to shove it before beating him down in a match. Again, I'm not saying I took anything serious last night because I really didn't but if I was going to, this seemed pretty messed up. I guess the rationalization is "he hit Santa, fuck that guy, he must be punished."
- Since when did Kane start eating animals? Did I miss that storyline development at some point in his 20 year career?
- Remember on Cageside Live! last week when we talked about wrestlers needing to think ahead to the future and protect their characters? Like Bret Hart mapping out years ahead and vehemently going against certain angles because he felt it would damage his career long term? Brad Maddox is a shining example of a guy who is on the roster and getting paid, but he's not thinking long term for his career. Of course he can recover from this, and yes, he probably has little to no say, but it's going to take a while before he's looked at as anything other than a complete dork after this massive losing streak and impressively dumb gimmick where he's wrestling on Raw to earn a contract to wrestle on Raw. The stupidity of the logic is astounding.
- Great Khali singing and CM Punk subsequently making fun of said singing was another highlight of the evening. There isn't much more to say on it than that.
- I thought The Miz's offense looked pretty good in his tag match going against Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett. I think credit goes to the opposition on stuff like that but this is at least a step in the right direction. It's a little funny that he couldn't work like this as a heel but he's stepping it up as a babyface? He's got this entire turn backwards, he really does.
- Those pre-tape segments with AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler were a little creepy. I mean it felt creepy to me while watching it. I get it, they both hate Cena, but you couldn't help but feel like after everything they bonded on had something to do with screwing over Cena, it would go further than acceptable. Like, as they panned away when they started the heavy petting and making out, you could totally imagine the two boning down and the dirty talk consisting of something to do with Cena. That's pretty disturbing. It might be disturbing that my mind went this far with it, too, although to be fair, that's the way WWE build the segments.
- Dolph Ziggler, Ass Wiggler better stick.
As stated previously, if you had the right mindset going into this show, you probably enjoyed it as much as I did. If you didn't, well, that sucks for you.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. I know it's Christmas but if you're on and have anything to say about last night's show feel free to fire off in the comments section below.