WWE Monday Night Raw last night (Nov. 28, 2011) emanated from Columbia, South Carolina, and featured a show that was actually booked as well as any Raw in recent memory.
Before we get to the reactions to the show, it's time to give a shout out to the Cageside commenter who delivered the "Comment of the Night" in the Raw live blog thread. And that honor goes to TheMysticalNinja, who has a great idea for The Miz -- "Miz's new gimmick: The duck face terminator." Well done, my friend.
If you want full results from Raw tonight, click here for the running live blog. Time to get to reactions from the show:
- I already talked about the opening segment featuring John Cena and Roddy Piper on the front page of the site, but I'll reiterate here: this was an awesome segment and probably the most entertained and invested I've been in John Cena in about five years. I don't think they'll go ahead and finally turn him heel but the wheels they are a-turning.
- The Miz getting over as a top heel to be reckoned with at John Morrison's expense should have been easy money. Instead, he failed miserably to establish himself as a force at the top of the card. Miz comes out and viciously attacks Morrison with a freaking pipe to his leg, savagely beating him to the point that Morrsion can barely walk. And they actually go ahead with the match after this? How does that make sense? It doesn't, but whatever, just a chance for Miz to beat him down further and send him packing, right? Wrong! Not only does Miz look weak throughout the entire match, Morrison was actually getting more offense in than Miz was, to the point that Miz was crawling away up the ramp to escape it. How does a guy take out another guy's freaking leg and then end up crawling away from the gimp to save himself from further abuse? This was how they wanted to get Miz over as a top heel?
- To expand further on that point, Miz had a built-in gimmick as a terminator. He takes out Truth, and he disappears for 30 days (suspension). He takes out Morrision and he disappears (maybe) forever. But instead of looking like a complete badass who ends careers, Miz looks utterly and completely harmless. His post-match promo didn't help matters. While announcing to us that he took Truth and Morrison out, Miz did the "quiet intensity" schtick, which would normally be fine. But his "tough" face is actually the "duckface" made famous by 14-year-old girls across America. I'm sorry, guy, but I will NEVER take you seriously while you're making a duckface and trying to tell me no one makes an impact like you. This was horribly done by all involved.
- Speaking of Morrison, why did they move away from having Brodus Clay finally debut and smash him to bits? If the alternative was the complete botch we got with Miz, this would have been far preferable. Instead we got yet another fake phone call explanation from John Laurinaitis. Credit where it's due: the explanation actually made sense. The longer they hold him out, the more pissed off he gets, the more he'll destroy people when he finally gets let loose. Still, an easy opportunity was passed over for what ultimately ended up being complete crap.
- I actually have something good to say about the Diva's today ... well, one of them at least. I would like it if Alicia Fox was given the spotlight more often. Her ankle pick to flip leg drop for the pin was actually a cool sequence during her match (with Kelly Kelly) against the Bella Twins. Push her, WWE.
- I love the picture-in-picture promos during entrances and strongly feel as though they should stick around. It's a good value add to mid-card guys looking to get over with some personality. Dolph Ziggler used it last night to push his new "show off" gimmick, which fell terribly flat, unfortunately, but it's definitely something WWE should stick with going forward.
- Speaking of Ziggler, he once again had a great match, this time with Randy Orton, who will be getting an entire post of his own on how he's gone from a selfish heel (both storyline and in reality) to a babyface who is putting guys over left and right. Seriously, this guy has probably elevated more talent in the last four months than Triple H has in the last four years. Ziggler vs. Orton is a match that should be happening on pay-per-view with a major title on the line. I'll take what I can get, though, and just say how much I enjoyed it going down on Raw.
Thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump.
- Wade Barrett had the chance to get over big while he was doing commentary with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler during the Orton vs. Ziggler match. But he often stayed too quiet for long stretches and needed Cole and Lawler to steer the conversation too often. Imagine what The Rock does in a situation like that. He would completely steal the show and be so good on commentary, the actual match taking place in the ring would become the secondary entertainment. I'm not saying Barrett should be able to pull that off -- few could -- but he didn't even sniff that territory last night. By the time it was over, I was happy it was just that ... over.
- Putting Daniel Bryan in the ring and having him bury Michael Cole is a cheap way to get him babyface heat ... but it's exactly what WWE should be doing. Cole, after all, has been burying Bryan on commentary since the day he walked into the company. It's too easy to get heat for dumping on Cole but anything they can do to put Bryan over at this point is welcome.
- The segment with Bryan and Cole was good but it quickly became great when Mark Henry came out and cut a short promo. His opening line -- "Haven't I knocked you upside the head enough already?" -- was amazing and his subsequent refusal to acknowledge Bryan as a legitimate challenger worked wonders for Bryan's underdog appeal. Especially since Bryan walked up and kicked him in the knee to take him down before saying, "We'll see tomorrow night." Nothing too fancy with the segment; just an effective way to promote tonight's live Smackdown show.
- Zack Ryder won another match despite getting zero offense in. Jack Swagger jobbed again. Moving along.
- CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio was a great way to close the show and gave the appearance that WWE really does care about its championship and the guy holding it. These two were given a full 15 minutes to create magic and they did just that, even if it took them 12 minutes to get there. My beef with these two working together is that they seem to take far too long to warm up before getting to the good stuff. I absolutely loved the Eddie Guerrero-inspired finish, with Del Rio attempting to cheat his way to victory thanks to a stipulation made beforehand that Punk would lose the belt if he was disqualified. I also loved Punk turning it around on him and retaining the belt through nefarious means. Solid execution all around. I'm not exactly crazy for another match, though, especially not on pay-per-view. That's my only real criticism of this match, ultimately. It felt a bit too much like a blowoff, even with the lack of a clean finish.
- Kevin Nash and Triple H are in the midst of a program that is reportedly going to lead them to a match at TLC on Dec. 18 (two Raw shows away) and neither of them are appearing on TV? That makes about as much sense as Kevin Nash wrestling an important match in the year 2011. Whoops!
Tonight's show improved leaps and bounds with its booking. What it lacked in action, it more than made up for in booking. Raw gets a solid B from me this week.
But that's enough from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts on last night's episode in the comments section below. Sound off.