Its only fitting that on the last Raw of 2011, a year where Raw was putting on good shows for a surprisingly large amount of the time, we are left with another good episode.
Ace is SO GREAT. I laughed forever at his CM Punk entrance. Outstanding. Its crazy how great Ace has become in such a short time, considering how terrible he was in the beginning. But hey, so was Vickie Guerrero, and she went from worst in the world to best in the world in a matter of months. He’s not the best in the world, but he’s become so entertaining and they’ve really found a way to make his limitations work for him. Best part of this entire segment was his “You dont want any of this” threat to Punk. Punk himself was also good here, and of course brought his super Chicago heat with him. Popped for the All Japan reference. Wont be satisfied until he works “Mrs Baba” onto TV somehow though. Anyway, this was total fun.
Booker vs Cody here makes sense after SD. The match itself was OK, nothing special but I liked parts. Like Booker pulling off that sunset flip out of the corner, and the strike exchange. Finish was weird. I dont hate it since they were pushing a Booker win as such a fluke on commentary, and this cant be the blow off, so as long as Cody looks good in the end, I’m fine.
Oh my God. Kelly speaking to Show here was like, the most natural Acting Kelly has ever managed in her LIFE. I have a feeling I’ve written that exact same sentence once before, and I have a feeling it was about a Show/Kelly conversation as well. In which case, Kelly and Show need to converse forever.
Liked the Otunga bit as well. Otunga is so good at just talking and being a heel buffoon, not a serious wrestler. Plus, I could watch Otunga being KILLED last week a thousand times, so I appreciate all the replays.
Dolph and Swagger as bickering brothers is growing on me. And MARK HENRY going “Excuse Me” was money.
We havent had a mixed tag since Mania, right? It feels like they never do them anymore. When it was announced my first thought was Nattie and Tyson as a pair, but I figured there’s no way they’d put Tyson on Raw and in this position. Luckily I was wrong! It makes sense for them to team since they’re both heels again. Tyson coming out aggressive was cool, as was the Eve/Nattie work. Enjoyed the stereo Broski Boots a lot. Short and fun. I cant say no to Zack and Eve, if thats what they’re doing.
The one problem with the current Cena angle is that since they’re so focused on Cena’s heat, even more so than usual, he has to come out every week and cut a promo about the crowd and how he doesnt mind his heel heat. I dont need to hear that promo ever again. I get it. Anyway, wasnt expecting a change in direction, or Miz. Ahh, no match after all. Shame, I was looking forward to it. These two have their best matches when there’s no pressure on them, and 12 minutes at the top of the hour could have been good.
Anywho, R-TRUTH BITCHES! YES! That was a fun beatdown, and he managed to keep his character intact while beating down a heel but not showing one way or the other whether he’s really turned face. So glad that man is back.
The one-arm-tied match was fun while it lasted. I’m not as excited by Henry anymore because I know he’s injured and thus wont be doing anything. If he was healthy and his music hit with Show’s arm tied, it could have had Eddie/Angle vibes. Shame. Anyway, this was weird but I like Bryan and Show continuing to save the other from heels. For now.
Alberto in the pimped out wheelchair was good. As was the Bellas getting more mic time. I enjoy them as bickering twins.
The gauntlet match itself was actually pretty good. The Swagger Bomb-GTS counter was SO AWESOME and a billion points for the way they shot it. Dolph looked great as always working over Punk and taking insane bumps, the stretch was cool, and Ace coming out to enforce justice and “inadvertently” screw Punk was PURE HEEL GENIUS. Plus, Dolph gets a title shot. YES. Hopefully they get 15 minutes before whatever Bullsh*t is sure to ensue because that could seriously rock.
“I expect something along the lines of Kane taking offense to Rising Above Hate when one should embrace Hate.”
This was so excellent. Firstly, cutting Cena off with FIRE was an awesome touch. Kane kind of cut one of those promos that stretches a 2 minute point into 10 minutes to fill the slot, but apart from that his delivery was good and the story rules. Kane indeed takes exception to Cena telling people to Rise Above Hate, when Hate is inevitable, its human nature and you have to embrace it and accept it, not Rise Above it. This was basically Roddy Piper’s promo to Cena about turning heel filtered through Kane’s monster heel lens.
Which brings me to my point – the way they wove this into Cena’s heel turn angle was simply outstanding. I just loved it. Kane is going on with his diatribe about embracing Hate, and Cena just shakes his head, “you’re wrong.” The kids start chanting “Cena, Cena” and he nods in agreement. He knows himself and what he fights for. Then as Kane starts talking about Rising Above Hate making Cena weak (again, the Piper argument) the men suddenly make their presence felt, and we get “Cena Sucks” chants almost as if on cue, to demonstrate to Cena who he is supposed to be Hating, what everybody expects him to be Hating, and, maybe, possibly, what he is finally finding it harder and harder to avoid Hating. Kane knows this, and he plays this up by encouraging the chants, and we are left with Cena standing there facing ANOTHER guy who is and will be constantly prodding him about his heel heat and what they see is his debilitating lack of Hate. The saga continues, and this was just so excellent. So excited for this feud.