For Your Consideration…The RAW Judicial Review for 12/5/11

For Your Consideration…The RAW Judicial Review for 12/5/11

Welcome back to the longest running action-adventure, passive-aggressive, rote and repetitive disguised as “vintage” column on the world wide web, For Your Consideration. I’m your host Andrew Wheeler and for the first time in a long time, I’m sick. I don’t normally get sick, but when I do (roughly once a year), it’s a doozy. So, if this week’s edition seems more scatterbrained than normal, I’d like to think it’s because of the meds. But you never can tell. (Then again, based on our layout [which I know they are tweaking] it’s a miracle if you can even find my column)

With that said, I am giving you all a BONUS. That’s right, it’s a little pre-Festivus present for all the little boys and girls out there who find tinsel too distracting. I present to you:

The HOUSE SHOW Judicial Review for 12/3/11

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend the WWE house show at the BankAtlantic Center in beautiful Sunrise Florida. The BankAtlantic Center is home to the Florida Panthers, a division-leading hockey team that people tend to forget exists, despite it being loaded with sexy, dynamic touch points (at least according to the sales people there). Anyway, the building was a great venue for a wrestling event, as it’s easy to get to, safe and best of all, because I have connections, free for me.

The event itself wasn’t terribly full, mainly due to the fact that the WWE put this show on as a reschedule for a China date. (Thankfully not a Chyna date, which would have involved a lot of drinking and probably some barbiturates) I went with the wife and several friends, including my buddy Ethan, who is the aforementioned “connection.”

We wound up sitting front row, which is a real thrill for people who have never been that close to the wrestling action. The WWE’s house show set-up is sad; it looks like a wrestling ring leading to a FEMA tent. Thankfully, the Superstars who all flew in from Japan seemed to have enough energy to at least fake enthusiasm.

The first match was Santino Marella versus Drew McIntyre. I normally rag on Santino for being intolerable, but for a live event, he’s perfect. He was funny, he was wacky, and best of all, he got the crowd into it. Drew was also pretty engaged in everything, including great old school stuff like yelling at the fans and grimacing. Marella won a pleasant opener that made the fans happy.

The Usos beat Primo and Epico Marx in a middling, fairly useless match. For some reason, Primo and Epico came out wearing towels with holes cut out for their heads, making them look like eight year olds playing superheroes. The highlight of the match came from the fact that the Usos got into it with the parking guy at the building earlier in the day due to a lack of credentials (and how is a security guy expected to identify two guys from Superstars in the first place?!), so we took it upon ourselves to chant “Parking” every time they yelled “Uso”…which they didn’t take too kindly to. Oh yeah, in the end they won. Huzzah.

Skip Sheffield made his long-awaited (theoretically) return against Mizfit. The match was not exactly crisp, as both guys were coming dangerously close to botching stuff all over the place. My buddy Ethan called it environmentally friendly, as both guys looked pretty green. We started a “Goldberg” chant and to his credit, Skip responded by doing Goldberg’s trademark step-bounce in the corner. Like I said, these guys were there to have fun. In the end, Sheffield won with the Clothesline from Heck. After the match, Riley was supposed to be “laid out”, but we successfully got him to start cracking up while he was “out cold”. Dolph Ziggler then came out of nowhere to hit the ZigZag, which was odd but what the hell?

Mason Ryan (who is actually a hell of a nice guy) beat Kurt SwAngle with the Matherlock Slam. During the match, SwAngle kept doing the OU sign, which prompted an OSU chant just to rile him up. And like I’ve said before (and will say again), he played along because these guys are out there HAVING FUN. Is Mason Ryan any good? No. Did he look like he was having a blast in the ring? Absolutely. I rest my case.

John Cena beat The Miz in a No DQ Anything Goes No One Cares Street Fight. Cena was extremely tired from all the traveling, and it showed. He didn’t do a promo, he didn’t really interact with the crowd and he didn’t once smile. This was a man who did not want to be there, and I never thought I would see the day where I would say that about him. Miz seemed equally tired, but he at least tried to cut a promo and continue his heelish shenanigans. In the end, it was the Five Moves of Mediocrity done in the most clinical way possible.

There was an intermission where people danced at the prompting of a new Diva so unmemorable that I don’t even know what her name was. There was one goof who did the worm, a heavy girl who…jiggled, a hot girl who danced like a shy 12-year-old at a Bar Mitzvah and a little kid who did all kinds of hippin and hoppin and bippin and boppin. He won and got to go backstage, where he was probably thrilled to meet a real live Uso.

Beth Phoenix beat Eve and I am shocked at how funny Beth is. She began mocking my friend Zach who said he loved her, and berated him to the point where even she couldn’t keep a straight face. Eve has great facials in the ring, especially the look of terror she’s perfected when taking a GlamSlam. In the end, Phoenix won, and she celebrated like it was Wrestlemania. Kudos to you Beth, kudos.

Dolph Ziggler came out and just about stole the show. He cut a promo about being from Hollywood Florida and how great it was to get out. Then when everyone booed, he said that he represented America and that we should never boo America. He started a USA chant before mocking the crowd. Just fantastic. Ziggler faced Evan Bourne, who was greeted with a “Welcome back” chant that almost seemed to embarrass him. Dolph mock-chain-wrestled him before saying that this wasn’t Ring of Honor. Mid-match, Dolph had his gum knocked out of his mouth, so he paused just to flick it out of the ring. I don’t know why that amused me so much but it did. In the end, Ziggler won with the FameASSer. After the match, he beat down Bourne until Zack Ryder made the run-in. Ryder held Ziggler down and Bourne hit the AirBourne to make the fans happy.

In the main event, CM Punk beat Alberto Del Rio. But even better, CM Punk reminded the fans what a guy who love his job looks like. Punk was probably just as tired as everyone else, but he was determined to give the fans a great show. Punk took a shine to my wife, as he patted his heart and pointed to her. I took offense to it (kayfabe) and he and I argued back and forth, culminating in him calling her ring a CZ. He then threw her his armband. Midmatch, he tossed Del Rio to the outside and then came over to pose for a picture with her. Sure, why not. Needless to say, the Mrs. is now quite the CM Punk fan. In the end, Punk laid out Ricardo Rodriguez with a full-on Hulk Hogan Hulk-up, big boot and legdrop before hitting the GTS for the pin.

Overall a fun night. The amount of people who complained that nothing mattered on the house show because it wasn’t televised stopped bitching when they realized they were getting a fun, entertaining theater experience. Long story short; go see a RAW house show and remember why you became a fan in the first place.

The RAW Judicial Review for 12/5/11

We open with Nickelback and I already know this is going to be one of those nights. Cena comes out to re-reiterate the fact that fans can boo and cheer and do whatever they want because they came out to see him. It’s like his stump speech. Anyway, he points out that Punk doesn’t have a challenger and since he’s pretty much the default anyway, it should be him. Del Rio interrupts with increasingly poor English to point out that Punk cheated last week and he should be the ehchampion of te duba duba eee. Miz comes out and points out that he has taken out a Wellness Policy violator and a Future Endeavored Superstar, therefore he deserves the match. Dolph Ziggler comes down with Vickie and makes a claim that HE should be the number one contender because he intentionally has the best matches of the night. Like I said, that guy’s good. They all go back and forth taking shots at one another, including Cena’s forced attempt to get Mitch Cumstain over as a phrase.

Johnny Super Ace comes out to calm everyone down and then says that Del Rio, Ziggler and Miz will all compete against Smackdown talent tonight, and if they win, they are in the main event of TLC. Cena, on the other hand, will participate in a social experiment. I doubt this will involve Milgram of Kant. Oh, and Miz’s match is up next against Randy Orton. You know, because Ace just happened to have this all set up on the off chance everyone came out and cut a promo exactly like this one.


Randy Orton v. The Miz

Much like the band Disturbed, I am now fully down with the sickness, so like the priest in “Spaceballs” this is the “short-short” version. Orton beats Miz like a drum for pretty much the entire match, establishes the fact that he could probably pin him at any moment and then Wade Barrett comes out. Orton chases him away and gets counted out, so Miz, like his entire title run, wins via cheap nonsense to back into the main event at TLC.


We come back with a WWE Network commercial that looks like something Stefan from SNL would have created. Seriously, it was like a meth addict was given the WWE’s library and an editing machine. Worst of all, I ‘m not sure if I liked it or not.

Zack Ryder is backstage with Johnny Super Ace for some reason. Cena pops up dressed like Ryder to hammer home the fact that Zack is now the Beefcake to Cena’s Hogan. Ace gets bullied by the anti-bullying Superstar, so he books Cena versus Ryder. If Zack wins, he gets his title match. If Cena wins, he’s in the main event of TLC. If it’s a double-disqualification, the company disbands. Stakes are high.


David Otunga and his Coffee Mug are backstage with…oh come on…Kevin Nash. Nash looks like an old catcher’s mitt. Otunga informs Nash that at TLC he’s facing Triple H…in a ladder match. At the top of the ladder? A sledgehammer. At the bottom of the ladder? Two men with bad knees who can’t climb. Oh, and Nash is in action…Tonight! Nope, not even the exclamation point can hide my lack of enthusiasm to see Big Grandpa Lukewarm wrestle.

Alberto Del Rio v. Daniel Bryan

Bryan has his ribs taped up, so this one should be academic. Del Rio dominated, Daniel tries to be the Brave Little Toaster, but in the end he taps like Gregory Hines. Short and to the point. Fine by me.


Eve Eve & Kelly Kelly w/ Alicia Fox v. Beth Phoenix & Natalya

We get a Pin-Up Strong package that is interrupted by the “He has returned” package. “Who? Jesus?” “Even better! Leonardo Leonardo!” The match itself is shorter than the whole thing, as Kelly gets a fluke pin to hammer home the fact that there is less of a Diva Division and more of a designated slot every week for them to wrestle the same exact match.


Zack Ryder v. John Cena

Cena gives Ryder a lot of offense here, which is admirable, brother. In the end, Cena wins with an FU but then gets all Shawn Michaels-esque and feels bad. Ryder becomes pissy and petulant, knocking Cena’s hand away. Ooh, shades of gray.


In the back, Cena berates Ace and says Ryder deserves his shot. Ace says Cena can get his wish and will give Zack one more shot at being the #1 Contender if (a) he wins his match and (b) Cena forfeits his slot in the main event of TLC. Cena reluctantly agrees.


No-DQ: Zack Ryder v. Mark Henry

Ryder gets some token offense, but Henry beats him senseless (as he should). Cena comes out and FU’s Henry so Ryder can get the fluke win and the US Title shot. Zack celebrates like he won the WWE Title, which doesn’t at all make him seem sad and pathetic.

Here is where the interesting character development of John Cena continues. He’s constantly being told the fans hate him but he won’t admit it bothers him. Ace (who is finally conniving instead of bumbling) makes Cena confront the conflict of competition versus friendship. John chooses victory over brotherhood, feels guilty and sacrifices his title shot for another person. Then, out of either compassion, guilt or a lack of confidence, he ensures that Ryder wins. Is he noble or is he a condescending jerk? Is this brilliant subtle storytelling or are all the cold meds I’m on starting to warp my mind?


Kevin Nash v. Santino Marella

Old gray mare she ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be. Jackknife. Pin.


Dolph Ziggler v. Shemaus

If Ryder’s victory didn’t telegraph this for you already, I’ll play along for your benefit. They go back and forth, Zack comes out, he distracts Dolph, Sheamus hits the Brutha Kick and pins him. This made perfect sense because Ziggler needs to drop the US Title so he can move on to a main event feud. And folks, the time to pull the trigger on Dolph Ziggler is right now.


CM Punk finally make an appearance with ten minutes left on the show. Miz and Del Rio are in suits for the signing, which Punk knows is an excuse to fight. So he moves the table and demands the fighting. Everyone signs, they take a group photo and Punk starts the fight. He lays out Del Rio and Miz and is left standing victorious. Well, I guess he shouldn’t have any problem at the PPV, right?

This has been for your consideration.

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