I consider it a win that I am able to watch Raw and write up a review for all of you under 24 hours since the original airing.  I really need to put myself on a better freelancer schedule.

Times come from Solace Winter.

Speaking of better, is there any better way to open up Raw than with Paul Heyman and CM Punk?  Can we give out best tag team awards for a tandem that has one man who does not wrestle?  He gets himself over, Punk over, the opponents over, all of Raw and WWE over.  I don’t mean to be such a gushing mark but I love every single promo he gives.  Fun fact, I was there live when Paul cut his legendary promo on Vince McMahon.

Paul calls out the referee of last week’s match, Brad Maddox.  I’m fairly sure I follow him on Twitter.  If Punk and Paul are going to complain about bad calls its almost a shame that the NFL footy ball game everyone is complaining about today didn’t happen already.  WWE loves to work current news into their promos just to seem more current.  Brad looks like Seth MacFarlane.  Here’s hoping Vince hasn’t watched Ted.  “Brad we have a great idea for you.  You’re going to come out dressed as a teddy bear!  And you’re going to make pop culture jokes.  But only ones that I get!  Not ones that the audience would find relevant.”

Anyways.  Punk gives this developmental referee a load of hell.  Paul calls him out as a replacement.  Oh shit, and here is Heyman with the WWE/NFL sleep mask.  This brings out someone with so much pep in her step she must have gotten plenty of sleep.  Oh you gotta love the business shorts.  Oh no, AJ said ass!  She stands up for herself so well its hard to believe this was a fragile girl just months ago.

Oh speaking of just months ago, CM Punk busting out some old AJ videos.  Punk plays AJ’s proposal, which he refused.  The evolution of both characters in just two months is crazy.  Punk plays AJ as a very crazy woman and it suddenly becomes the most sexual promo in WWE in years.  Best in the World behind closed doors.  CM Punk puts the skip in your step!  I really want a 1950s looking poster with that saying on it.  Paul proposes to AJ and its just deliciously slimy.  AJ has enough and slaps Paul.

Wait, I thought the general manager couldn’t lay a hand on talent anymore.  Maybe there’s a loophole if Paul isn’t technically a WWE talent, but more CM Punk’s manager.  Hmmm… wonder if they’ll address this.

Opening Segment – 13:26

Pretty much what I expect for an opening segment at this point.  I wouldn’t be shocked if it has to be in the 12-15 minute range every time as part of advertising.

Our 2012 Danny Davis referee talks with AJ.  Brad’s job is threatened.  Uh oh, hope he doesn’t mess up again.  She cuts a real creepy promo here.  Oh there is no doubt she’s not talking to Brad anymore.  That is what silent rage is all about.  Not Tough Enough whats-his-name.

Maddox/AJ Segment – 1:20

Plenty of time for AJ to be crazy, for Brad to get more TV time for whatever happens next.  Anything more and the segment would have dragged.

Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) vs. Kofi Kingston (with R-Truth and Lil Jimmy).

Vickie argues over how many chairs are available at ringside.  Which is odd, because she usually stands.  Lil Jimmy starts to instigate things and Vickie ends up with a soda all over her face.  The referee ejects Truth, Vickie and I’m going to guess Jimmy as well.  Its not a true one on one match.

And what a one on one match it is too.   These two have battled each other numerous times.  In fact, I think the only current WWE pairing that might have more matches is Punk and Cena.  Great back and forth to the match up.  Signature moves are hit leading up to incredibly dramatic two counts.  Plus, Dolph has been booked so unevenly lately that it is entirely possible Kofi will win this.

An SOS, a Zig Zag and more only lead to two counts.  Kofi with a so high cross body that still isn’t enough.  Dolph finally hits another ZigZag for the win.  Excellent match.  Dolph won it on his own, without any heel maneuvers.  That is how we build up a future World champion.

Ziggler/Kingston Entrances, Truth/Vickie throw out – 3:38

Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler – 7:19

I cant believe all of this was in 11 minutes.  This whole segment could have anchored the show.  Not just Raw, but Smackdown as well.  Depending on how Dolph’s inevitable title run goes, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a rematch in the main event spot of a PPV.

Daniel Bryan and Doctor Shelby meet at a diner.  The doctor has his latest therapy idea, Kane as the waiter!  “This isn’t Kane.  This is Gerald.”  Oh good old Gerald Kane.  Or maybe  Kane Geraldson.  Oh this is too damn funny!  Kane, sorry, Gerald, claims to have killed the cook and sprinkled today’s food with his remains.  The reactions from the other diners is priceless!  How I Met Your Mother started their new season last night.  One of if not the highest rated sitcom.  This 4 minute segment was funnier than that entire episode.  My fingers are crossed for more.

Kane/Bryan Recap – 1:50

Dr. Shelby/Bryan Segment – 2:35

My bad.  Two and a half minute segment.  Its not just that WWE has always done great quick sketches.  Hell, everyone still remembers Fuji Vice.  Its also the YouTube influence.  Anyone can grab their camera and make a compelling episode of a show in under 5 minutes.  The three segments at the diner were a highlight of Raw and probably, oh, under 10 minutes total?

The Prime Time Players vs. Zack Ryder and Santino Marella.

Well that’s a hell of a thrown together team.  Although, I feel like Zack would have chemistry with the Prime Time Players.  Not as an opponent, but as a stable.

This match got out of hand real fast.  Santino goes for a pin, Titus breaks it up, Ryder is in, big brawl and Ryder is out.  Darren sneaks a tag in and Santino doesn’t see it.  Titus picks up Marella, takes him down to the SPCA, and puts the Cobra down.  Damn.  That was one fast paced match but it looked great for the PTP.  Millions of dollars are most definitely ahead.

Ryder/Santino/PTP Entrances – 0:49

Zack Ryder & Santino vs. PTP – 1:50

Now that’s how you do a squash.  Zack and Santino were thrown together and should not have lasted long.  Plus the Prime Time Players need to be built up a bit more.  So far I’ve been very satisfied with the time choices for the week.

Mick Foley comes out to talk about who CM Punk used to be.  This brings out CM Punk and its a pretty good back and forth.  Oh I cant wait for this DVD set.  Foley and Punk, two guys that should have never won and yet did and thrived.  Plus there is the Paul Heyman connection.

Foley puts over Punk as Best in the World, without saying it.  He gets over Heyman as the villain.  He doesn’t do anything about himself, but he doesn’t need to.  Then he brings up those four words that I forgot were upcoming.  Hell in a Cell.  CM Punk in Hell in a Cell.  Here. Take my money.

Oh the way Punk remembers everything and brings it back with great promos is an art form.  He is constantly told that if he does this one thing he would get respect, and he’s done all of those one things.  He doesn’t need Legends latching on to him.  He is nothing like them.  John Cena does get countless title shots!  Oh this is wonderful.

So Punk,  who do you want to listen to?  Punk doesn’t need to prove anything more and he doesn’t need to destroy his body like Foley did.  Excellent points.  Then there is Foley coming back with how dates and statistics don’t matter, the moments he made are what still matter years and decades later.  Oh this is fantastic.  Then Punk with such a little look on his face, that shows how much Foley’s words got to him.  Loved this.

Punk/Foley Segment – 15:01

When a legend is in the ring with the champion and both men are future Hall of Famers give them all the time they need.  I could have watched these two verbally banter for an hour.  An Iron Mic match!

Cris Angel (or however the fuck his name is spelled) is the social media ambassador.  This effects nothing and thus is not relevant in my review.

The Miz (Intercontinental champion) vs. Ryback.

Are they putting a title on Ryback?!  Most likely it will be a DQ win.  I’m wrong! Ryback dominates!  He easily pins the champ!  We have a new… no.  No we don’t.  I guess this was non title.  Huge win though.

Ryback/Miz Entrances – 2:00

Ryback/Miz Recap – 0:22

Ryback vs. Miz – 2:55

Huge win for Ryback, I’m just shocked he didn’t get the title.  But if he did then the problem becomes how and when to take it off of him. Miz will bounce back too.  He always does.

Kane and Daniel Bryan at the diner part 2.

“We destroyed 8 men Friday night.”  Big deal so did my whore of an ex.  Holy shit!  Kane gives Daniel a pounding!  Mae Young cameo!  When Harry Met Sally joke that is still pulled off to people who have never seen that movie.  Holy crap this was brilliant.  So so wrong and so fucking funny.  You know what, screw this, I’m throwing in the WWE video of it.  That’s how funny this was.  I have to stop my own blog so you can watch this.  Well done!


Kane/Bryan Segment – 1:08

Under a minute!  And you know what, this segment will be remembered for years.  People on Twitter brought up the Kurt Angle Christy Hemme sketch and that was what, five or seven years ago?  This will be fondly recalled at least as long.

AJ gives the referees a pep talk.  Then she makes a six man match for tonight.  I fully expect a referee problem in this upcoming match.

AJ/Refs/ADR/Otunga/Ricardo Segment – 1:48

About right for what it was.  Needed set up but absolutely no reason to add fluff to it.

Wade Barrett vs. Tyson Kidd.

Well this is kind of a shame.  Tyson could be a star but he just hasn’t been given that shot.  Wade however is going to be wearing gold again before the end of the year. Its a dominant match.  Wade took out Tyson much faster than Gabriel last week.  Wade’s new move is a n elbow to the head called the Souvenir.  Nice name.  Good match to continue to build Wade.

Barrett Entrance – 0:46

Wade Barrett vs. Tyson Kidd – 2:17

Two squash matches.  Maybe even three depending on how we think of the Miz’s match.  Again, its needed to build these guys up as stars.  I do still hope for more from Tyson Kidd.

Jerry Lawler talks to the WWE Universe live via satelitte.  It really is a miracle he’s still alive.   Just as lucky that he’s as good as he is now only two weeks past.  The fact is he’s been calling wrestling for a generation.  All of those fans from the Attitude era that have moved on.  Fans that watched while in college, or while in a relationship with a fan and no longer tune in.  All of those fans know who Jerry Lawler is.  Long Live the King.

Jerry Lawler Interview – 6:21

Jerry could have taken all the time he wanted.  I think the six minutes was all that he could do.  The King will be untouchable and judgement free for quite a while.

David Otunga, Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio and Sheamus (World champion)

This was an excellent house show match.  Didn’t do much to set up the next PPV or anything new for the World champion.  Rey looks like a man half his age.  With all of the knee surgeries, etc its a wonder he’s as good as he is still.  The heels look like fools, the faces, especially Sheamus, are overly dominant.  Sin Cara is protected.  All of the fans go home happy.  Like I said, great house show main event match.  Didn’t do much for the biggest wrestling show on Earth.

Ricardo/ADR/Otunga/Sin Cara/Mysterio/Sheamus Entrances – 5:12

Ricardo Rodriguez & Alberto Del Rio & David Otunga vs. Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio & Sheamus – 7:53

Really?  Nearly 8 minutes?  I honestly would have guessed 3.  Maybe I zoned out during it.  Again, fine house show match but if I have so little to say for an 8 minute match then that itself says something.

Kane and Daniel Bryan at the diner part 3.

Dr Shelby has them eating each other’s dinner selection.  Are those Vegan meatballs?  Oh this is so sophmoric and I love it.  Kane with the loudest burp I’ve heard since Elf.  Daniel with a huge amount of vomit.  Kudos to the No chant worked into this and the not so subtle blowjob joke.  Best sitcom I’ve seen on TV this week.  Too damn funny.

Kane/Bryan/Shelby Segment – 2:06

I cant think of more raving words to say about these segments.  Seek them out on YouTube.  Well worth the under 1o minutes.

Vote for the new team name!  I think it should be team Vinyl Countdown.

Daniel Bryan and Kane (WWE Tag Team Champions) vs. ???

Michael Cole announces the new team name.  Team Hell No.  Which is what I voted for as well.  Not sure if there was supposed to be a match here or not.  Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes attack from behind.  They lay out the champions and this is actually a pretty good team idea.  Team Rhodes Scholars.  Yeah, I can go with it.

Kane/Bryan/Rhodes/Sandow Segment – 4:10

Four minutes to set up potential for tag team matches of the year?  Yes please.  I cant wait for Smackdown, just in the hopes that this continues.

Alicia Fox and Layla vs. Eve Torres (Divas champion) and Beth Phoenix.

Wait.  Who is heel and who is face here?  I’m so confused.  Speaking of, what the shit was this match.  Its 99% Layla vs. Beth.  With Beth getting dominated for over half of that.  Then Beth hits a springboard suplex and Eve tags in.  Neck breaker, pin, done.  Well that is one hell of  a champion isn’t it?

Kaitlyn comes out and says that the Diva who attacked her is blonde.  Alright, so she could have worn a wig.  It could have been Rikishi.  Eve points out that Beth has blonde hair and then takes out Beth.  Well that was kind of interesting.  Oh!  I bet that Eve takes out the also blonde Natalya next week.

Layla/Fox/Phoenix/Eve Entrances – 1:29

Layla & Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve – 1:29

Kaitlyn/Eve/Phoenix Segment – 1:41

This whole thing was strange.  I would not be surprised if the Divas division was cut in half.  Or even just eliminated.  It gets zero attention and the women aren’t given room to become characters.  5 women out there and under 5 minutes for the segment.  That’s not enough time for anyone to build a relationship with the audience, nor to make them care.

Brodus Clay (with dancers) vs. Tensai.

I can only hope that Jim Ross tells us the ring has been reinforced for this match.  This is really exposing Brodus.  He barely pulls off tossing Tensai.  Its really just a sloppy match.  And here comes Big Show.

Show looks like he’s switched up some muscle and fat since he last showed up.  Big Show punches out Tensai and that’s it for the match.  He then looks over to Brodus.  Clay charges (hey man at least wait and see if Big Show is friend or foe) and charges right into Show’s fist. Damn.  Well that’s it for the super heavyweights.  Good return for Show as well.

Clay/Tensai Entrances – 2:30

Brodus Clay vs. Tensai – 1:44 (though half of that was Big Show walking down the ramp)

Show knocks out Clay/Tensai – 0:36

Brodus’s entrance lasts more than half of the matches tonight.  Fine amount of time for what it was, a way to bring Big Show back as a monster.  I’ll be interested to see where this goes next.  I’d rather see Show vs. Sheamus than Show vs. Punk.

Michael Cole, don’t say “gingerly” when referring to John Cena.  The only way he could be booed more is if he were a ginger.

John Cena comes out to cut a promo.  He tries not to swear, and it just comes off as fake.  He is trying to try to seem like he will swear.  Cena says he will be at Hell in a Cell and it is a tough spot for WWE to be in.  Cena is the challenger, but he is injured.  But he isn’t injured for long.  So there’s no point in building up the next great face.  Well, there should be one, but I see the tough spot.  If he is healed then its his match but there needs to be a back up plan.

CM Punk refuses to face John Cena for nothing but excellent reasons.  He has defeated Cena, multiple times, Cena is injured, Cena has had his shots and best of all its time for someone else to get the opportunity.  These points are hard to argue.

Punk turns around and gives Cena the chance to leave.  I hope he takes it but instead John pulls out a sex toy?!  No, its just a lead pipe.  Punk turns around and takes a shot to the gut from a one armed man.  Come on!  Give the champ more than that!  John Cena hands the pipe to some woman at ring side.  Not the kid right next to her.  Lets hope its the kid’s mom.

CM Punk is backstage licking his wounds.  He walks by Foley and not a word is said.  Oh, but maybe.  Punk heads back and takes his anger out on Mick!  The champ turns around to give Mick some more but Foley now has a protector.  Its the Ryback!  Well that’s an interesting twist.

Ending Segment – 15:39

Good bookend to close the night.  I like everything they’re doing with Punk and Heyman.  This Ryback twist intrigues me.  However, as I wonder how Punk can be out of the main event matches for so long this week answers that question.  Technically Tensai vs Brodus Clay was the main event, as it was the last match of the evening.  Therefore, yet another week that CM Punk is not in the main event.