WWE Monday Night Raw last night (Jan. 2, 2012) emanated from Memphis, Tennessee, and featured the big reveal of the mystery return man, which turned out to be the man it was rumored to be all along, Chris Jericho.
Before we get to the reactions to the show, it's time to give a shout out to all you Cagesiders. No one gets comment of the night because you were all on your game last night. I read the entire thread -- all 1,019 comments -- and laughed out loud too many times to count. So let me just say to you guys, thanks for making Monday night's so much fun. You're all wonderful.
If you want full results from Raw tonight, click here for the running live blog. Time to get to reactions from the show:
- We've covered (and will have more to come) Chris Jericho's return and the cryptic videos six ways from Sunday, so there's no need to go into it in this space. Suffice to say, I was initially pissed and then realized how brilliant the whole thing was. Or at least that's my feeling. Others feel a lot differently.
- We're to a point where John Cena's promos have a scale that we can easily access and it essentially tells you the kind of night it's going to be depending on where his particular promo lands on said scale. He goes from dropping a "rare gem" to being "bad but bearable" to "really, he's doing this again?" to "good god, someone please cut his microphone." Last night, he fell in the last category. His pandering to the live crowd is beyond ridiculous at this point and while I understand why it's necessary for the current story arc and fits well with his character, I find it unbearable. It's change the channel heat, not I want to keep watching you fall heat.
- I don't want to sound like the grumpy old man here, but count me out when WWE starts pulling the supernatural storylines that are visually impressive live but just look goofy at home to anyone over the age of 12. And I get it that they can't cater to me all the time, and that age range should be accounted for but the whole deal with Kane trying to pull Zack Ryder into a hole in the ring only to have Cena rush in to make the save before fire started shooting out of the hole was just silly. Plus, it felt a little too much like Kane wanted to have his way with poor little Zack Ryder and Cena rushed in because that just couldn't happen. Maybe my head is still filled with memories of the Katie Vick angle. Sometimes PG really is better, I guess.
- I've said it before and I'll say it again and again and again: the cardinal rule in pro wrestling is that you never, ever bury your talent in a way that connects too deeply with fans. There's a big difference between what Bobby Heenan used to do and what Michael Cole does. Heenan would bag on a guy but it would be funny and it wouldn't kill his heat. Cole gets entirely too personal and last night, live and on the air, he actually asked this question: "How can you take Daniel Bryan seriously as a champion?" We can't, Cole, and that's your fault, dum dum. I'm ready for Vince McMahon's man-crush on Cole to fade away now.
- Speaking of Bryan, he's won with the small package many times throughout his career, enough that it's recognizable when he does it. But needing to get a surprise sneak victory over Cody Rhodes is just bad booking. I like how Rhodes is protected so he still looks strong to defend the Intercontinental title against Booker T on Smackdown but the lack of respect being shown to the world heavyweight championship right now is disheartening. If your world champ can barely beat the IC champ, you're doing something wrong.
Thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump.
- The Miz is getting absolutely destroyed on TV week after week and I'm enjoying every minute of it. It's like they realized his tough guy heel schtick was a lead balloon and just said, "Screw it, let's have Truth punk him out until we figure out a better way to use him." So that's what they're doing. Truth did enough this week to connect with the fans again as a babyface, which was good to see. We can cheer him now for more than just the fact that he's going after a heel.
- By the way, that kid that Truth let get on the mic to say something on Miz? Yeah, that kid blew it. I'm sure they scripted it and he was a plant or a fan who they had something worked out with beforehand but come on, little dude, you could have been famous forever. It's live TV, buddy, they can't take it from you. I would have loved to see that kid pull off something great. Alas, it was not to be.
- Wade Barrett is terrible and I would love it if one of you Cagesiders could write a FanPost explaining to me why WWE is pushing him. You have to be especially devoid of talent and charisma if you take out one of the company's top babyfaces and you still can't get heat. Barrett Barrage? Go upchuck that crap in TNA, where it belongs.
- Dolph Ziggler's promos are gradually getting better and better. We're getting to a point that WWE can't justify having him challenge for titles but never win any. And I'm talking about the two big belts, not the Intercontinental or U.S. titles. If you can talk with the best of them and work better than the rest of them, you should be a champion. Ziggler is a million times better than Bryan, I don't care how many independent love darlings tell me differently. This guy came back from being saddled with a gimmick as a member of the Spirit Squad for god's sake. He deserves a title run just for coming back from that.
- CM Punk said "bitch" last night. I think that means he's edgy, guys.
- Why again is Mark Henry still working matches if he's hurt? It's clear they're protecting him from doing anything worthwhile. Why keep making him drag himself out on TV each week? Is this Vince building him up and then gradually bringing him back down for no apparent reason? Because that's what it looks like. There was a time when Henry would walk around the ring and the crowd would react to his presence. Now? We know no one is going to get their wig split. Except maybe his.
- When's the last time there was a three on two handicap match in favor of the babyfaces? And they still managed to find a way to make Cena look heroic. Oh, WWE, you're so consistent.
This was a pretty average show overall. Jericho's return was odd but good and Punk vs. Ziggler was good until the smoz finish. Cena was especially bad and the entire ordeal with Kane was a little too campy for my tastes. I'll give the show a C.
But that's enough for me. Now it's time for you Cagesiders to sound off with all your thoughts from last night's show in the comments section below.