[TV Review] WWE Raw – 1/14/2013

Raw Review

WWE celebrated the 20th anniversary of their flagship show with a concert from The Rock, a MizTV featuring Ric Flair, and a main event of John Cena Vs. Dolph Ziggler in a cage match.

Click “read more” for quick match results as well as a review of the show. For a more detailed recap, check out my coverage over at 411Mania.

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Quick Match Results:

  1. *WWE Intercontinental Champion* Wade Barrett pinned Randy Orton in 10:27.
  2. Kane (w/ Daniel Bryan) pinned Damien Sandow (w/ Cody Rhodes) in 1:59.
  3. Kaitlyn pinned Eve Torres (c) to win the WWE Divas Championship in 5:27.
  4. *WWE Champion* CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Brodus Clay by submission in 3:42.
  5. 3MB beat Sheamus in an “Over the Top Rope Challenge” match in 3:13.
  6. Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) defeated Cody Rhodes (w/ Damien Sandow) by submission in 1:16.
  7. John Cena pinned Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ Lee & Big E Langston) in a Steel Cage Match in 16:25.

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*What Worked*

John Cena Vs. Dolph Ziggler: From an action perspective this was a tremendous match as one would expect since these two work so well together. The booking of the match sucked in the end (which I’ll whine about later), but I was definitely hooked in until then. Langston swatting Cena away from escaping the cage by using a chair was hilarious and awesome and Ziggler’s top rope dropkick to Cena was a great spot. There’s a lot to be mad about, but as a match itself, I’ll give it its due.

The Rock and Sock Connection Reunite: After being announced as the first 2013 HOF inductee, Mick Foley had a backstage segment with his old partner The Rock, effectively acting as a reunion of their famed tag team from the late-90’s. It was a fun little segment, with Foley and Rock each having their funny moments. It was a goofy segment that made sense for The Rock to partake in.

Ryback’s Promo Skills: The Shield chased away Mick Foley before he got to give a speech about his impending HOF induction, but after they were chased away by Ryback and company (Randy Orton Sheamus, who probably shouldn’t be so buddy buddy since they supposedly have a mini-rivalry going on), “Big Hungry” (never forget, guys) cut possibly his best promo to date. It lost steam when it ended with a “Feed Me Shield!” chant but before then it was a well-thought out promo that made perfect sense. Ryback is improving on the stick. That’s a damn good thing if you’re WWE and still have hope that he’ll be champ someday.

The Miz Marks Out: MizTV is normally a segment I come to fear, so consider me shocked that this week’s installment with special guest Ric Flair ended up being one of my favorite segments of the night. Miz was genuinely excited and marking out at being able to “Woo!” and strut with the legend, and Flair for his part seemed to also be having the time of his life. Antonio Cesaro‘s interruption also worked as he delivered a solid promo that had some quality jabs at both Miz and Flair, and helped push his feud with the former Reality TV star. I wasn’t really that crazy for Flair letting Miz do the Figure Four, but I can respect the attempt to pass the torch. As far as Miz’s face turn goes, this was a step in the right direction and he came off way less annoying.

3MB Wins!: Granted it was a cheap win and they didn’t pin anyone, but I was super excited to see Heath Slater and his bandmates get one over on Sheamus and actually come out the victor for once. Sheamus demolished them afterwards like the sore loser he is, but still. 3MB actually won a match. And on Raw no less. That works for me more than it does for most people.

*What Was Okay*

Randy Orton Vs. Wade Barrett: While Barrett getting a clean win over Orton was awesome and exceptional, the match itself was anything but. I feel like I’ve seen them wrestle each other so much at this point that nothing they do really wows me. I’m glad that the right person won though; I’m hoping for Barrett to get a real run at the top someday.

CM Punk Vs. Brodus Clay: This match was far more competitive than I expected and I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t amazing or anything but it ended up being something other than a squash so props for that. Punk winning with the Anaconda Vice was also a nice way to switch things up, although it was probably more out of necessity due to Clay’s size. Punk’s post-match promo was good as well, not as great as his other stuff has been, but still completely serious and on the point. Also, and I mean this seriously: who expected this to actually be a match?

Kaitlyn Vs. Eve Torres: After what seems like 8,000 matches against one another it was definitely a feel-good moment to see Kaitlyn finally defeat her biggest adversary and win the Divas Championship. The match itself was also pretty well thought-out as well and had more psychology and quirks than any Divas match I’ve seen recently. So why is this merely an okay? Because, frankly, I don’t see what other people see in Kaitlyn; her offense looks ugly to me and although I know she’s got a personality she has barely been given a chance to showcase that on TV. Essentially she’s just a blank slate. I hope they build her up more and give her interesting things to do because having to follow up the best Diva character-wise they’ve had in forever is going to be daunting. And now that Kaitlyn is champion…who’s next? Fingers crossed for a Tamina Snuka feud.

The Opening Segment: To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Raw opened with…a segment revolving around the Alberto Del Rio/Big Show feud. Huh. It was an okay segment, Show was entertaining and Vince McMahon clearly was doing his damndest to make people care about this feud, but Del Rio being forced to overplay his ethnicity to garner cheers was awkward. He seems to be acclimating to being a face though and I like the potential of him and Ricardo Rodriguez being goofballs and high-fiving and such. Overall though this was a dull way to begin a show that seemed like should have been a bigger deal.

*What Didn’t Work*

The Rock’s Concert: As one would expect, the episode concluded with The Rock putting on a “concert”. And during this “concert” he sang songs filled with juvenile insults and fatshaming aimed at Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero (the latter also being called a cheap hooker). Now I’ll admit that The Rock did have the Houston crowd in the palm of his hand and in a basic way Rock totally had the charisma on overdrive…but dear god was this unbearable. Until CM Punk came out to get into it with Rock, I was ready to shut my TV off and call it quits for the week. It was 10 minutes of unbearable middle school jokes and nicknames, which isn’t really a great way to build to his match against Punk at the Royal Rumble. Not to mention it’s just painful as f*ck television.The closing segment was also the absolute worst and if you found it funny…well we won’t get along.

SuperCena: I used to get mad at John Cena being labeled as “SuperCena” but after his matches against Dolph Ziggler over the past two weeks, it’s hard to dispute that negative nickname. Cena overcame Ziggler’s finisher, Big E Langston interfering, and every move ever to beat Ziggler with a simple Attitude Adjustment. He just brushed everything off and beat Ziggler like it was nothing. It won’t kill Ziggler’s career, but I’ll tell you this: Cena doesn’t need to look invincible, and having him wipe the mat with Ziggler despite having the odds unreasonably stacked against him is a bit on the insulting side. It ruined what was a good match before he started kicking out of everything no matter what.

Overall Show: Outside of some video montages here and there, this did not feel like a 20th anniversary of everything. Overall it was a very “blah” show with no real surprises and more importantly weak build for the Royal Rumble. The Rock’s concert was so bad it almost tanked the entire show on its own, and there was more “blah” than “good”. The good also occurred in much smaller segments and moments. I don’t know, this show just did nothing for me besides piss me off when Rocky tried to give Paul Heyman a new stupid nickname.

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