Previewing the Dec. 31, 2012 episode of WWE "Monday Night Raw"; featuring the injured WWE Champion CM Punk, the repercussions of The Shield's continuing attacks on Ryback and Team Hell No, and the ongoing saga of Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, John Cena, and The Miz.
Punk! Ryback! The Rock! Double Called Shots! New Year! Almost There! Quiet Before The Storm! WWE Championship!
Next week (Jan. 7, 2013) will be a very exciting episode of Monday Night Raw. Ryback will face CM Punk for the WWE Championship in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match. It will also mark the return of The Rock, who is scheduled to face the WWE Champion at Royal Rumble on Jan. 27. All told, things will be very exciting at the top of the card in the weeks to come.
But that is next week. Tonight, we receive more of the same as we have been getting.
It is amazing that Punk's injury has effectively removed him from the show. Yes, he has been getting mic time each week. It also cannot be denied he looked great during the Slammy Award show on the Dec. 17 edition of Raw and on the live SmackDown the next night. The man's promos have been top shelf since he had surgery on his knee.
However, he is getting five, maybe ten minutes an episode. The man has held the WWE Championship for 407 days, and he is receiving the same amount of screen time as Brad Maddox.
I understand Punk's injury came at an awkward time; WWE was left with very few options on how to handle the situation. Few would expect the promotion to take the belt after building up his reign so much. In my opinion, though, that is exactly what it should have done. The 400+ day run with the title has been meaningless with John Cena dominating the top of the card. What better way to feed into Punk's claims of disrespect if Vince McMahon came out and striped him of the title. He gets to be pissed off that Ryback kept him from competing and, once he is healthy enough, would be able to chase the strap again.
As for the title itself, the rest of the roster would have been able to compete to become the next WWE Champion. Feuds can be created and extended, wrestlers would have received major screen time that they would not ordinarily get, and a general sense of chaos would have descended onto WWE. Then it becomes a simple matter of booking a tournament that would have stretched over the past few weeks, and presto!
You give fans a reason to tune-in on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Of course, that isn't how things went down. Punk is still WWE Champion, and he is being relegated to small promos to hype up next week's match with Ryback. Maybe once The Rock jitterbugs back into our lives, things will be different.
For as powerful as the Being John Cena Championship is, there is only one People's Champion.
Ziggler! AJ! Big E! Cena! Miz! More of the Same! Holding [Expletive] Pattern! Money in the Bank!
I have no idea what WWE is doing with Dolph Ziggler & Co., And I don't think WWE knows what it is doing, either.
Ziggler and AJ Lee are working perfectly with each other. The addition of Big E Langston only makes them stronger as a unit. If WWE uses the stable correctly, they all can come out of it looking much stronger. A couple of wins against some quality opponents and Ziggler & Co. will dominate the midcard.
The problem lies in that there is no obvious foil for them to face.
They have been antagonizing The Miz for the past few weeks, which is fun and all, but no one really cares about The Miz, as he has lost most of his credibility in-ring since losing the Intercontinental Championship to Kofi Kingston. His face turn has become one of the more obnoxious parts of WWE television. There is certainly room for his character to grow in the future.
Right now, though, he is just kind of there.
The big question mark in this whole angle remains John Cena. It was his feud with Ziggler -- and his involvement with AJ -- that set this whole thing in motion. Ziggler had a dirty victory over Cena, and I doubt if that will be the end of everything. So these two paths are going to cross again, probably sooner than later.
I just don't know how things end without Cena picking up a clean win.
Yes, he is the biggest face of the company, he should win more than he loses. But everything should have a purpose and reason behind it. Cena beating Ziggler clean, so he can move back up the card, does nothing for anyone. At best, this ends in a shmoz finish and everyone just kind of forgets anything ever happened.
That's not really satisfying, though, is it?
I'm sure there is some way for Cena vs. Ziggler to be tied up and keep fans happy. I just really don't know if WWE can think outside of the box to make it happen. Whatever happens, I just would like both parties to move on sooner rather than later.
One! More! Thing!
A certain birdie (read: spoilers) has informed me that a certain title will change hands tonight. I wish I had more to say on the matter, but I don't really care enough to be upset about it.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join Geno, myself, and the entire CSS Monday night gang in the live blog right here!