WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Jan. 16, 2012) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, featuring a U.S. championship match between titleholder Zack Ryder and Jack Swagger.
Or at least that's what was being advertised. Then again, WWE was running an injury angle all week, claiming Ryder was hurt pretty bad from the chokeslam Kane delivered onto some wooden slats on Raw last week. You know, when you bounced about three feet in the air and didn't break them.
The John Cena vs. Kane feud will move right along, with Cena attempting to figure out the quickest way to be a hero again while Kane lumbers around and looks silly while cutting terrible promos.
CM Punk and "Big" Johnny Laurinaitis will continue bickering back and forth on their way to the Royal Rumble and Punk's match against Dolph Ziggler. They'll also likely touch on the horrific ref botch from last week, which was turned into a story on the company website.
We'll see how they tie it into the storyline tonight.
Chris Jericho is also in town, but will he finally speak? If I was a betting man, I would say no. And with Randy Orton still nursing his back injury it looks more and more likely that Jericho will win the Rumble. One of you Cagesiders had the idea that if that's the plan, he shouldn't speak until winning it and use his first words to call out Punk to set up their feud at WrestleMania.
Speaking of feuds at WrestleMania, where the hell are Triple H and Undertaker?
Anyway, the fun kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. ET on USA, so be sure to come back and join us to follow along with all the fun. It's always a good time. Raw live blog after the jump.
WWE RAW RESULTS LIVE BLOG JAN. 16:
Jesse here, filling in for the increasingly dilated Geno Mrosko. Let's get this party started.
RAW opens with a Martin Luther King Jr. montage in honor of his birthday. If you don't know why he was so important to the maturation of this country, please turn the TV off and seek help. Immediately.
Errrrrrrr-kshhhhh! Car crash music hits and it's Mick Foley! The artist formerly known as relevant lumbers to the ring to get the cheap Anaheim pop. Puts over his previous role as Santa and his "This is your Life" bit with John Cena (cue the chorus of boos).
Foley harnesses MLK's "I have a dream" speech and talks about getting back inside the ring so his two youngest kids can see him perform "at least one more time!" Crowd pops as Foley inserts himself into the 2012 Royal Rumble.
Vickie G. in da howse alongside Ziggy. Foley stands there with a grimace and I notice how much he resembles a mouse in that he has no shoulders. Ziggler tells Dewey's dad that Rumble spots are too precious to waste on him and his "snotty kids."
They argue back-and-forth about the Rumble. Dolph doesn't want to face a "glorified stuntman" at WrestleMania if by some miracle he wins at the next pay-per-view (PPV). Zigs turns up the heat and bags on his accomplishments, or lack thereof. Tells him to go home, buy a new shirt and eat a salad.
Cue the Cult and here comes CM Punk to join the festivities. Crowd giving Punk a good chant and he pays homage to Foley with a quick Anaheim pop. Ziggy tells him they both robbed the same hobo for clothes. Ha. Punk trying to unleash hell but trips over his own punchline. Then again.
Wow, Punk stunk in that opening delivery.
Gives Ziggy a few more digs than turns his attention to John Laurinaitis and the homer ref that cost him last week's bout. Says he's still the best in the world.
Just not on the mic based on tonight's botch-fest.
Vickie grabs the mic and screams, Punk screams over him and Johnny Ace comes out and screams over both of them. Ugh. Ace gives him "Executive Vice blah blah blah" schtick and tells Foley no, he will not be allowed to participate at the Rumble.
Vickie laughs in his face. "He said no!" Heh-heh-heh
Air Boom seen backstage sans belts and the house show footage of them coughing up the titles is aired. Rematch coming up after the break.
Back from break and Epico and Primo in the ring showing off the hardware.
Bourne gets it started with a bunch of fancy moves on Primo but gets double-teamed when Epico tags in. Flying hurricanrana and Rosa looks concerned. And hot. Kofi gets tagged in and jumps off the top rope and lands on his feet. Cole calls him a "High Flyer." Whatever. Tries the aforementioned high-flyer and tosses one of those guys out of the ring. Follows him out and takes a nasty bump against the pole. Back in the ring Borne gets the backstabber and pinned.
Wow, they got smoked in the rematch. They really are hated by "management."
Johnny Ace on camera and David Otunga waltzes in to announce his guest. It's Chris Jericho! He doesn't talk but his coat lights up really shiny! Oh, and there is a six-man tag match tonight between a bunch of the usual people who I will try really hard to catch on the replay. I believe it's CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry and David Otunga.
Zack Ryder is on TV and he's not been medically cleared to compete or defend his U.S. Title. Vows to retain the belt and is now marching to the ring with his little woman to deliver a fiery promo, I'm sure. Quick replay of Kane losing his marbles and playing head games on last week's show. Ryder/Eve romance is teased. Then, the tire iron of doom. Ryder bounces off a shipping pallet and Kane promises Cena will "embrace the hate."
Ryder ignores his injuries and heads to the ring. Jack Swagger comes out to try and win the prestigious U.S. championship. Replay of the Ziggler/Punk blown call from last week followed by a commercial.
40 minutes into RAW and we've had one bout. And it was a glorified squash match to punish a pothead and his stool-pigeon friend.
And we're back.
Woo-woo-woo! Here comes the dynamic two-o. Ryder taped up Hogan/Bundy style. Swags goes right for the ribs. Ryder tries to get a flying cross body and gets caught and crushed. Swags with a quick cover for two. Gut-wrench suplex also gets two. Another gut-wrench suplex and suddenly Swagger is Scott Steiner. Mix it up, Jack. Ha! He drops an elbow then goes back to the gut-wrencher but this time it's enough for three.
New U.S. champ! The crowd is completely indifferent. Commercial break.
Back from break and a replay of the title change you might have missed four minutes ago. In the locker room, Ace tells Ryder "My bad." Eve tries to comfort the whimpering former champ.
Some pansy-ass media blogger trots out to the ring and gets showered with boos. He tries to announce a Divas match OVER the intro music. A fail of two cities. What is going on here? Anyway, The Bella Twins will battle Kelly x2 and Alicia Fox.
Double K gets thrown to the floor and kicked in the abs. Whoa! Kelly with a comeback! Bellas pull a Killer B switcherooni but Perez Hilton interferes! Kelly with the roll-up! 1-2-3! After the match, Hilton gets squashed by the Bellas.
Replay from Smackdown! when Big Show trampled AJ like a rampaging elephant.
Another commercial break.
The Truth, has set him free. It also got him busted for spice. Before Truth can work the stick, Wade Barrett comes out to a chorus of ... nothing. Starts talking himself up for the Rumble and putting down Truth. Little Jimmy starts feeding Truth one-liners and since they bomb, he quickly works the crowd for WHAT? chants. Truth wants to show off his slides from Disneyland. Photos on the Titantron of him with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, then
Miz Donald Duck. Hey, there's Pinocchio! Says the little wooden puppet told him Barrett would win the Rumble and hey look, his nose is growing!
Truth rambles on until The Miz rushes in and attacks him. Now it's a double team. Wait! There's Sheamus! The Great White comes in to make the save and well hold on a minute playa, here comes Teddy Long to make a Royal Rumble preview with an over-the-top rope challenge between the four brawlers.
Every man for himself but of course the heels and babyfaces face off. Miz gets dropped and the faces double team Barrett and push him over the rope with a rush in from Miz. Truth stumbles and Sheamus goes apeshit on Miz. Truth tries to use the momentum to dump Sheamus but can't get him, then misses a kick by four feet and Sheamus sells it. Figures. Won't sell a chair shot but falls over for a kick that misses.
Duckface tries to take out Sheamus and gets forearms to the chest for his efforts. Then a huge clothesline. King says Miz should be on Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride because he has a sunken chest. Ha. Sheamus tries for the Brogue kick but misses and plants his nuts on the top rope. No sells it, comes back and tries to dump Miz but Truth runs up and sends them both over. Truth wins and Miz still gets Brogue-kicked on the apron.
Incoming! Cena storms the office of Johnny Ace and demands an explanation as to why Zack Ryder was allowed to compete. Laryngitis tells him he's fighting Kane at the Royal Rumble and Jack Swagger after the commercial break.
Swagger in the ring and Cena's music hits. He comes out and hey! Where's my salute?!? Rawr! Cena mad! He rushes in and is destroying Swags. They tumble out of the ring and Cena fighting nasty.
Is he embracing the hate?????
Cena sends him into the steel steps. Cuh-rash. Now he's growling and smashing Swagger's face into the steel. Yep, he's embraced it. Jackie-boy passed out on the steps and Cena teases a steel-step sandwich and BOOM, Kane's pyro hits and he gives a morbid message ... via Titantron.
In the ring, Cena realizes he lost control and starts to shake, then we break.
Oh snap! Funkasaurus is here! Somebody call my mama! Brodus Clay is back. Another squash match? Let's see what JTG has to offer. Not much. Another laugher. Somebody call
Shad my mama and tell her Brodus Clay is here to stay.
Speaking of squashes, we get another replay of AJ being body-checked by the Big Show. Danny Bryan coming up after the break to update us on her health status.
Thank God, I was worried about her.
Well, actually, we get another replay of the squashing, but this time it's sandwiched between clips of the actual match and Big Show bawling like a baby because AJ took a bump. The replay has it all slo-mo with great sound effects, making it look pretty serious.
Daniel Bryan comes out to cut a promo and calls Big Show a cruel, inhospitable freak. Slams him for hurting AJ, who "has been traumatized and will never be the same." Says the bump was intentional and "pathetic." Also wants to know why Show didn't apologize and his "crocodile tears" were 1000% fake. Promises to make him pay if he ever shows up on Smackdown! again, then plugs his upcoming bout against Mark Henry and dedicates the match to AJ. Bryan closes by saying he will show AJ how much he loves her on Friday then heads to the ring for his six-man tag match.
Lights go out and Jacket goes on. Y2J is here! No mic, but he's still working the crowd as we go to another break.
We come back and CM Punk is next out but wait, the ring already has the rest of the gang in it. Maybe they came up through Kane's trap door?
Punk and Ziggler start it off. They do some mat work and Zig getting worked. Punk tags out to Bryan who takes over and proceeds to botch a move so horribly the crowd gasps. Otunga tagged in and works the leg of Bryan. Geno calls that psychology. I call it kicking a guy in the leg. Cole talks about trending and I ignore him. Ziggler back in and he's torquing that leg of the champ. Bryan gets to the rope and Ziggy whispers in his ear. Guess that means Punk is getting tagged in. Yup. Otunga is there to meet him and gets taken down. He's up and gets Ziggy tagged back in who stomps a mudhole in Punk. Dolph poses like a boss. CM backbreaks his way out but can't get back to his corner. Otunga tagged back in. I guess Henry's groin still hurts. A lot. Punk lands a top rope elbow. Jericho tagged in! He's pandering to the crowd and tags back out. Ha! Then he just up and leaves the ring and walks to the back with a look of accomplishment on his face. Amazing.
We return and Ziggler is working Bryan. The champ lands a kick and hot tag to Punk who's unloading on Ziggler. He goes for the pin but Henry in to break it up. He ends up feuding with Bryan all the way to the ramp and Foley's music hits. He's running! He's been named the new tag partner of Punk and Bryan! First Punk has to escape the offense of Ziggler. Couple of close two counts. Punk gets the tag to Foley who rushes the ring. Ziggler feeds him Otunga and Mick gets the running knee, the DDT and yup, good ole Mr. Socko. The mandible claw wins it.
Wait, it's not over yet. Here comes Johnny Ace. He looks pissed (or constipated). It seems Foley never had permission to participate in the tag match, so Ace reverses the decision and declares the heels the winner. Boo! Punk grabs the stick and tells him to shut his mouth and man-up, take his balls out of his purse and put his cards on the table. Claims Ace is a nobody who sucked when he was a wrestler despite his brother's success. Road Warrior vs. Road Kill.
Went from somebody who sucked to somebody who sucked up. He's unloading now! Says he's jealous of Punk's success. Declares himself the man. Says if he gets screwed at Royal Rumble he's getting his ass kicked. Crowd cheers and chants CM PUNK! CM PUNK!
Fakes him out and leaves the ring. Foley gives Ace the double thumbs up and Johnny makes the Miz duck face before taking the stick. He defends himself but Foley interrupts him. Calls him a few names like "kiss-ass." Crowd now chanting YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK!
Ace back on the stick and promises to screw Punk at the Rumble. The goes on a botch-filled tirade (dub-u dub-u universe?) before clocking Foley and laying him out. Crowd boos. Fade to black.