Previewing the Nov. 26, 2012 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw featuring the reigning WWE Champion CM Punk, the repercussions of the NXT Trio's second vicious assault on Ryback, and the ongoing saga of John Cena, AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero, and Dolph Ziggler.
Punk! Ryback! Heyman! Ambrose! Rollins! Reigns! Invasion! Who's NXT? WWE Championship!
Last week, (Nov. 19) CM Punk celebrated the one year anniversary of winning the WWE Championship. 365 long days had passed between the 2011 and 2012 edition of Survivor Series, and the "Straight Edge Superstar" had withstood all assaults to his throne. The ever loyal Paul Heyman had set up a commemoration in Punk's honor.
What a ceremony it was.
There was merriment. There were tears. There were video packages. There was a chart that Marshall Eriksen would be proud of, placing CM Punk's momentous reign into historical terms.
And there were uninvited -- or perhaps invited -- guests to the festivities.
Ryback would come storming out to break up the party. Before he could make his way to the ring, though, he would be met by the group of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns. The NXT Trio had put Ryback through the announcer's table the night before at Survivor Series (Nov. 18), and they would repeat their performance on Monday Night Raw. At first blush it would seem that the group has something against Ryback. However, they created some uncertainty by attacking Santino Marella and Tyson Kidd at a TV taping on Tuesday (Nov. 20).
The question still remains; what do these three men want, and how far are they willing to go in order to get it?
There may be a million or more possible reasons for why the NXT Trio -- yes, that is what I'm calling them until they are given an official name -- is behaving in such a fashion. They could be Paul Heyman guys, having been hired to protect the WWE Champion. They could be "biffiles" with the wonderful Brad Maddox and wanted to avenge their fallen friend.
Or they could be rebels without a cause. Men who exist simply to watch the world burn.
This is a story that will take awhile to fully unpack. The group is expected to address the WWE Universe tonight, but it is unlikely that they will give very many answers. Nor should they. The angle deserves the proper treatment. TLC is a little ways away (Dec. 16), so there is no rush to meet the Pay-Per-View (PPV) deadline. On top of that, this can be played out far into next year.
We have plenty of time for things to play out. I, for one, am loving how it is going so far.
On a side note, it is amusing that Punk has once again taken a backseat to other goings-on in WWE. Perhaps it is because the NXT Trio is new and exciting, while Punk's run with the strap has become somewhat stale.
Instead of John Cena's shenanigans and/or Triple H,The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar coming out of the woodwork, though, this feels a lot more acceptable.
Either the group is working with Punk, in which case he is still the star of the show. Or they are doing their own thing, which means they can be spun off into the undercard while the championship takes its rightful place in the main event. In either case, the title is still at the focal point. The belt should be a spotlight on what the fans should pay attention to.
And folks, if you haven't already gotten the message, you should definitely be paying attention to everyone involved here.
Cena! Ziggler! AJ! Vickie! Affairs! Tonsil Hockey! Bathroom Brawls! Video Replays! Complete Crap!
The John Cena/AJ Lee/Vickie Guerrero debacle has gone far past the point to where I can simply ignore it. Additionally, now Dolph Ziggler has been dragged into this mess. This is something that makes me want to change the channel and not watch what happens.
And this is coming from someone who has seen every Twilight movie. Not willingly, mind you, but the point stands. I've seen a lot of bad storytelling, and let me tell you this right here is some bad storytelling.
Vickie has been saying for weeks that Cena and AJ were having a secret affair. In a big, shocking twist, Cena decided the best way to correct these accusations was to make-out with the former Raw General Manager right in the middle of the ring. AJ, being of sound mind and logical reasoning, decided the only way to protect her dignity was to jump into Cena's strong arms and try to forcibly remove his spleen through his mouth.
Because, these are things that make sense in WWE-land.
There is something to be said here about the vulnerability of women with respect to men in a position of strength, about the glass ceiling and the fracturing of sisterhood, about feeling the need to base one's self-respect on who you are dating, etc. Hell, my entire love life has been a series of mistakes and regrets, of having had my entire self-worth tied to whom I was with. There is a way to tell this story properly, and with respect to all parties.
What WWE has produced, however, is complete and utter garbage.
John Cena is horrible with any story beyond "I must win this because I win at everything and even when I lose I must WIN!" He is a smug, cocky, jackass with a sophomoric sense of humor. He calls Vickie fat and Dolph a woman because that is what children find funny.
It is uncomfortable to see him try to have human feelings. He is a workaholic who has deprogrammed himself from any real emotions. The line between Cena the wrestler and John the person has been far too blurred for this to work in any meaningful way.
The absolute worst part about the whole thing, is that AJ and Ziggler have real chemistry together. Ziggler's promo to AJ about how she leaps into the arms of the first man who pays her any attention was cruel, viscous, and, quite frankly, a message that a lot of people -- not just females, but people -- need to hear. It was a heel promo that had real truth behind it. It was something that will get you angry but will linger in your conscience.
AJ's response, on the other hand, was simple and primal; get pissed off and start swinging. It is what everyone wanted her to do, but it showed that she has still not grown up. Perhaps down the road she could realize her immaturity. She can form a fully articulated argument acknowledging her own weaknesses while promising to better herself. AJ would be able to take Ziggler's words to heart and become a fully functional human being.
Of course, this is the moment that Cena comes running in to "save the day." Because AJ is a women, you see, and she needs a man to protect her. Because she is small, young, and foolish, she needs a man to ride in on a white horse and steal kisses from her while he battles monsters and demons and whatnot.
Because she cannot be expected to grow as a character, but simply replay the same song and dance the crowds popped for when she first debuted.
We all know how this will end. Cena will go over Ziggler at TLC. He and AJ will continue to be little teases until he gets bored and moves on to someone else. It will be nearly unwatchable, and it will be replayed five times an episode. There will be no mystery, no suspense, and no intrigue.
We can only hope this ends sooner rather than later.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment about what you are looking forward to, and please join Nolan, myself, and the entire CSS Monday night gang in the live blog right here.