WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Dec. 3, 2012) from Greensboro, North Carolina, featuring The Shield, Vince McMahon's return, and all the continued build to the TLC pay-per-view (PPV) in under two weeks.
This show has received a mix of good, bad, and baffled reviews, and now it's my turn to sink my teeth in. Let's get right to it, ladies and sirs.
- Where to start? How about with WWE and its lame attempt at turning The Miz babyface? Can anyone on Earth stand this guy? He can't possibly appeal to the younger fans, can he? All I see is a smarmy, cocky douche bag who seems way too high on his own abilities, of which he has very few. I quite enjoyed CM Punk laying a verbal beatdown on him by simply spitting the truth about his career. Miz is awful in so many ways and his competence in the ring can't overcome his delivery, his mannerisms, and his overall demeanor.
- The worst part about Miz? That fucking entrance song gets stuck in your head too easy. I can't watch Raw with an entrance from him because it means I'll later find myself lightly singing "I came to play" under my breath while performing some menial task. It makes me hate him so much more.
- CM Punk, meanwhile, continues to be what he is, and I'm not sure how to feel about that anymore. With recent rumors and events having transpired that point to those rumors being true, he's really only a transitional champion, even if his transitional reign lasted longer than any other title reign of the past 25 years. He does good work but when's the last time we really got to see it? Working programs with Ryback has led to an increased emphasis on his mic work but we're back to that point where he seems burnt out on the business. Maybe that's not the case and I'm certainly not saying it's so, but we all caught that crack he made about "dismal three hour Raws." That line, by the way, was edited out of the videos WWE has released on its website and YouTube. Big surprise, huh?
- At least Ryback was used properly. No dumb match to kill time and get him on TV, just a late run-in to decimate Punk using one weapon each of the match type he'll be participating in at TLC. Crowd was hot for it and he continues to look like a serviceable star.
- Vince McMahon is making a habit of showing up and forcing Vickie Guerrero to do what he wants, which is actually a pretty cool gimmick for the old man. He's always a treat, she's unbearable, and the whole thing somehow works.
- What doesn't work for me is Dolph Ziggler losing that Money in the Bank briefcase to John Cena. Putting my full on "mark" hat on, this is a terrible turn of events. Sure, it makes sense for the end goal and it gives Cena his receipt for losing to Punk at Raw 1000 and becoming the first to fail to cash in his contract. But this feels like they're sacrificing Ziggler to advance the issue between Cena and The Rock, two longtime stars who are going to do big business but won't be around forever. That's a problem WWE is making too often these days.
- A few folks have brought up the obvious plot hole in all this that Ziggler should simply cash in his contract on SmackDown this week or even Raw next week. Or any time before TLC so he doesn't have to put it up for grabs. There are a million ways to explain why he wouldn't do that, though, or why he would and WWE would get to the same result anyway, like Cena winning the world heavyweight title before a unification bout or something like that. It all ends in Cena standing tall, winning it all like always.
- IT ALWAYS ENDS IN CENA STANDING TALL. WE'RE ALL GOING INSANE. CENA IS TALL.
- Hey, Brad Mad Ox came back. Wait, they squashed him again? There's a point to this, right? I mean other than his manliness making my lady friend think less of me. I suppose The Shield did kill Randy Orton dead after the squash, so it definitely looks like Paul Heyman is leading the group of Punk, Mad Ox, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Sounds good to me. Key word being "sounds."
- The Mayans got it all wrong. I'm not sure how the world didn't end last night. Take note of this, you guys, Teddy Long actually stopped a tag team match from taking place. He took a routine tag that would have been boring and meaningless and turned it into an exciting four-way bout for the U.S. championship. I still don't know how to feel about this.
- Damien Sandow is the best. Is it bad that I'm secretly a little happy about his not having to be attached to Cody Rhodes right now? His weekly segments are always a highlight of the show.
- Three hours is still too long. You know how I know? There's a lot of stuff I'm not even bothering to get to because it wasn't worth the time, including the long match at the top of the second hour involving all the major players. I'm also not talking about the main event segment in depth because Miz giving a lie detector test while failing miserably in front of superior performers isn't worth anyone's time. MizTV is also awful.
This one was hard to sit through. A few bright spots but it's never good when one of those bright spots is the WWE champion calling attention to the fact that the three hour era is such a failure.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on the show last night. How did you grade it?