The Redman Report: WWE Raw 2/1/12: It Begins.

Its a new year, and to kick it off, It Begins. Also, Punk and Dolph. I’ve deftly avoided spoilers for over 24 hours so I’m pumped and ready for the first show of 2012.

So, Cena is out to cut his “I dont mind, really” promo? Meet the new year, same as the old year. But whatever. I like the minor touch of only Kane’s voice being heard, with no video on the tron or anything. Made it spookier and I like what they’re doing with him right now.

Bryan vs Cody was a fun little battle while it lasted. I missed the part where Bryan/Show was booked for this week so I’m looking forward to that. The rollup and OTT annoying celebration are just too much though. After 2011, the last thing Bryan needs credibility-wise is to become a geek heel champion. But whatever, we’ll see.

Speaking of, Miz looks like the world’s biggest girl tip-toeing around scared of Truth. I did enjoy Truth’s wacky backstage stuff though. The man is so going to work as a face.

Barrett was good here, and I’m glad we’re starting to get into Rumble talk. Santino here was also great. His failed splits counter and realisation that he was SCREWED was great, as was Barrett’s wicked KICK square to the jaw to set up the finish. Fun times.

WOAH, Sheamus and Miz had a HELL of a fight for a minute there! That was great, Miz coming out a house of fire and beating up a big babyface asskicker, before Sheamus was up and positively KILLED Miz for daring to do so. A great 60 seconds. Then more Truth wackiness, just to mess with Miz, and he ends up being killed by a still-angry Sheamus instead before Truth even gets to him. More good times.

Loved Dolph’s promo here a LOT. His fast-talking braggart cadence is great and unique and they really have something there.

Ace making a 6-man main event out of the Zack/Swagger geek squabble was the weirdest thing ever.

Punk vs Dolph was, as expected, pretty awesome. Enjoyed this a lot – the early matwork, Punk being able to dominate a little. Dolph FOREARMING Punk’s tope was awesome, as was the apron bump afterwards. The second half with all the moves coming out was really great too. Loved the accidental turnbuckle pad to lead to Ace coming out to Execute Justice and screw Punk again. I thought the finish was really super and really well-executed. Ace ‘inadvertantly’ pulling the top rope down was just great. Dolph running around with the title after non-title matches and not seeming to care that he didnt actually win the belt was a bit weird, again, but whatever because we get 20 minutes at the Rumble and this was great.

It astonishes me just a little that they gave the Bellas tag like twice as much time as they ever give either or both of the Boobs. Just a little. Eve looked good but the finish looked…bad. All the women have been spinning in place for weeks and weeks now, since Survivor Series. I WANT LAYLA.

Boo to Ace as the Special Guest Referee, only because I’d like a super long workrate battle and I dont want him overshadowing it. But I’ve enjoyed his involvement so far, so we’ll see I guess.

So, Jericho. The main thing that strikes me, as it has struck me the entire time really, is that the vignettes really have absolutely nothing to do with Chris Jericho. Even though he is a vignette-proponent, they’re so creepy, out there and supernatural-ish that they couldnt be further from any way you choose to perceive Jericho the wrestler. So in the end its just like, they’re pointless. You could have run a blank screen with the words “Old star re-debuts” for weeks on end and got the same result, because the only purpose they served was to announce that fact. Which is fine if “miss-directing internet troll” is really what he’s going for, but my thing is, the vignettes and the message behind them were really so excellent that it seems like such a waste to not have them tie into the new character somehow.

Anyway, I’m reserving judgment on him in general until we know more, and to be honest I really dont know how to react to the segment. You could tell where it was going like a minute in and I like the idea in theory, but it just kept going and going and it was quite tedious to actually sit through. The problem with trolls, and this goes for this angle as much as Cole or Bischoff on Twitter or any other douchebag, is that when they act like a dickhead/idiot, and as much is said, the troll response is “Haha, I f0oled you, I was pretending to be a dickhead/idiot all along and you were worked, mark!” Its essentially just a blanket defense for any objectionable behaviour, because somehow being offended/bored/fooled or otherwise put-off by douchebag behaviour is now much worse than actually being the one acting like that in the first place. You shouldnt be so easily worked, mark! F*ck off. Why not instead just…not be a douchebag? Drives me nuts.

I think in some way, after the last few months of WWE TV where it feels far too often that they are aiming for nothing more than trolling the sh*t out of their own fans, the idea of making an actual character who’s gimmick is that he trolls stupid internet marks just scares the hell out of me. But I may just be reading way, way too much into his Twitter gimmick. If I’m overreacting, if they dont go meta and he just rips into the fans for cheering like sheep even though he hates them and ran an anti-fan gimmick for years, that will be fine. Actually that should be quite good. And like I said, I’m not really condemning it out of hand until he actually speaks and we know where we are. But the segment was fairly boring save for his excellent Jacket That Lights Up.

Main event was hella weird for being a handicap match in favour of the babyfaces, but again I like the direction they’re going in with Kane – he’s no longer a mortal man who just has normal matches when he’s booked – he’s a monster. And still, I loved the Henry/Show face off even if the eliminations were lame, and I liked the final fall with Zack going wild before being trapped in the Ankle Lock and STRUGGLING for the hot tag for the Cena win.

And GOD DAMN, Kane coming out from the depths of Hell under the ring, smothering Cena’s face in and trying to kidnap Zack and take him to Hell under the ring was AWESOME. The giant struggle between good and evil to save Zack from the depths of under-the-ring Hell was just awesomely wacky, campy, hokey pro wrestling fun. Kane’s over the top scary monster heel is so much fun at the moment, and Cena is so the perfect guy to be his over the top nice guy straight man. Enjoyed. A weird show, but not altogether a bad one.

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