10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 12.31.12 (The Miz, Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio)

Raw 2012 - 2

1. Another week and another holiday edition of Monday Night Raw! Happy New Year to all and let’s all hope these gimmicky Raws end this week.

2. It’s still extremely weird seeing The Miz as a babyface, especially with WWE’s top babyface John Cena, a man who he has a LONG history with. Miz never had a “babyface turn moment” and is still playing the same character, except he’s mocking heels now instead of faces. He needs that moment. If it was 5-10 years ago I would call for a complete and bloody beatdown by an emerging heel (or The Shield) where Miz would be placed off TV for a few weeks only to make a hot return and gain vengeance against whomever put him out. Obviously in today’s WWE environment, the idea of blood and extreme violence is frowned upon so Miz needs something (ANYTHING) to establish which side he is fighting on.

3. Is it just me or do the Divas all seem to wearing as little clothes as the PG rating allows them? I understand they’re in a tough position. Most of them can’t wrestle but the last time that was the case, it was the Attitude Era where the Divas could live on how much skin they showed. Now what?

4. After being subjected to all of the horrible jokes between Michael Cole and The King since Lawler’s return, I almost preferred it when they blatantly hated one another. The fake laughter that underscores every single match is almost worse than Mike Tenay and Taz’s back and forth.

5. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus at No Way Out made it onto my very short list of best PPV matches of 2012 but it just missed the cut. The combination of a power wrestler and an all-around tremendous athlete usually makes for a good match but these two men are typically out to steal the show any time they get the call. They started out shaky tonight but damn did they pick it up and not disappoint. The finish might not have been very satisfying but both Ziggler and Sheamus needed to be protected going into the Royal Rumble so I’m perfectly fine with The Shield run-in.

6. I don’t know if this idea has been brought up yet but with Dolph Ziggler still hanging onto the Money In The Bank briefcase heading into the Royal Rumble, what if the WWE went with Ziggler winning the Rumble and thus giving him 2 guaranteed two World title shots? Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe anyone has ever held a briefcase until the Rumble so this idea never would have been a possibility. This would give Ziggler “an out” if he were to fail to cash in the briefcase and it would also give him “another shot” if he were to lose the main event at WrestleMania. I think there’s a lot of meat to this idea and would be extremely intrigued if they went this route.

7. Seriously WWE? I thought the horribly dressed doctor was overkill but then we have to relive another Mae Young pregnancy? Wonder if this is how they’ll bring back Mr. “Hall Of Pain” Mark Henry, effectively ending his career for good.

8. SEE! THAT WAS A BABYFACE PROMO! That was a turn. That was Alberto Del Rio changing his colors and jumping to the side of good. Now fans can cheer for him without having to wonder if he’ll abuse Richardo again or be jealous of his wealth when he drives out a new car. It wasn’t anything over the top at all but it was just enough to establish Del Rio as a top babyface.

9. Another great match between Kofi and Barrett but I can’t help but think of this IC title win as a step down for Wade Barrett. Yes he’s still trying to re-establish himself after a nasty injury and returning with a different character but he’s been the Intercontinental Champion and that run wasn’t anything special. I’m desperately hoping this is the launching pad Barrett needs to move up to the main event. A feud with Ryback, Sheamus or a newly turned Alberto Del Rio will send Barrett miles up the rankings in the mind’s of the fans. One main thing that needs to change is his finisher. Wasteland was bad but the Bullhammer Elbow takes too long and is too awkward to set up. Tonight was better but if he turned that elbow into something like the Roaring Elbow by Masato Tanaka, it would be much more effective looking and therefore more decisive in the fans’ eyes.

10. Did anyone else have a massive mark out moment when Randy Orton’s music hit and the camera focused in on Dean Ambrose?

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