I'm not usually one for the 'holiday season' as I've been sick more often than not the past couple years. My serious health issues of the past couple years (even though I've dealt with Crohn's Disease my entire life) started with me in hospital started Christmas 2009 (luckily my first Christmas in hospital). It was New Year's 2010/2011 that I was again in hospital. It was these past two years that I have learned that I can write blogs and cover Live Blogs from a hospital bed.
But this Christmas was so much different. I made a turdu (turducken without the chicken part) and it came out fabby! It's the best holiday meal I've made in a number of years. Ellie spent two nights here with us and we had a wonderful time. All the kids were well behaved and sincerely thankful for their gifts and kindly said so. Yes, I'm a bit shocked, but when they each said how happy they are that they knew I'd be home this year and that made them happy, I was just floored. Teenaged boys actually caring that their evil step-mother is home with them and saying so about made me cry.
Stacy and I were both really behind getting ready for Christmas, but he still managed to pick up some WWE DVDs for me. Between the newest SCSA DVD, the newest HBK DVD and the newest DX DVD, a SCSA shirt and an Orton scarf, I'm wallowing in WWE love. They're very obviously gifts that were well thought through and that's what means so much to me. Now the big question is will Stacy willingly sit and watch them all with me? I will also fully admit that I purchased a Miz collar for my service dog and a Miz wallet for Stacy as they're both very awesome to me.
No matter who you are or what you celebrate, or how many holidays you might celebrate all together, I hope it has and will be lovely for you.
In Ring Segment
A- > I have to say I loved this opening segment! Laurinaitis antagonized Punk and his hometowm fans in a beautiful way. I have loathed Laurinaitis for so long, but honestly, he's doing a very good job of being horrible. Adamle was horrible, Laurinaitis is playing the role of being horrible and it's working. He's no Vickie, but still garnering some solid heat. Of course Punk had to be abused and taunted. Not only is he the Champ, but he was in his hometown. I have to say that Punk was quick on his feet when the fans started chanting that Laurinaitis 'can't wrestle' and he commented about them seeing old Japan videos. That was obviously off the cuff and worked very well.
As old and crusty as Laurinaitis is – really only two years older than Kane – and that he hasn't worked the ring in over a decade, I'd love to see him lace up the boots and get splatted all over the ring by Punk. It would have been a lovely way to end RAW for 2011.
Booker vs Cody
B+ > Booker has a definite style in the ring. Wrestling is constantly changing and evolving, but Booker's ring work hasn't evolved much since he left the WWE. It was interesting to see Booker work the ring now as if he was still back in the WCW. It's nothing I can really put my finger on, it's just a feel of wrestling of that time and Booker still has that. Personally I think it worked very well with Cody's style. I'm enjoying their feud and think it can only help to elevate Cody that much further. Hopefully Cody will win the rubber Match.
Winner – Booker
B > Ryder and Cena was a bit odd. The whole thing felt very uncomfortable, which I think is what they were after. Cena's doing an interesting job with his new role and Ryder is doing wonderfully with his forcefully created fame. I can't wait to see what they're going to do with Ryder next!
D > Was this just another way of forcing Kelly down our throats and showing us just what a ice guy Big Show really is? Either way this blew goats!
D > Laurinaitis and Otunga leading Big Show into the 'Hand Tied Match' was so glaringly obvious! So many wrestlers have been drawn into this one - King, Chavito, Eddie, Mickie, Jericho, etc., the list goes on and on. The only fun thing in this segment was Big Show psyching out Otunga so completely after saying Otunga has no testicles. To me this proves that it's possible to have fun in this PG era. During the AE he might have used another word, but testicles works quite well.
C > I had to admit that I wasn't thrilled with Swagger and Dolph arguing. Yes, I like that there's tension between them, but this was rather lame. Yes, some of the comments, especially about Swagger, were right on the money, but it still felt very elementary school and not even in a fun way. It just fell flat.
Mixed Tag Match – Eve & Ryder vs Tyson & Natalya
C- > I said earlier that I wanted to see what they'd be doing with Ryder? I take that back, I didn't want to see this! I have no problem with comedic matches, but not at the expense of the new US Champ. Yes, he's a goofy character, but I found this slightly degrading, even though he was obviously having fun. It was nice to see Kidd and Natalya tagging together and Ryder was adorable with his strap and Eve after the Match, but it still did nothing for me.
Winners – Ryder & Eve
In Ring Segment
B > While I can't say I'm always a fan of Cena's character, he is almost always good on mic. He knows how to engage the crowd and make them feel something. It could be love or hate from the turn of a comment, but he gets the fans going. Honestly, I was about cussing at my screen last night during this section. His character is stale and corny, but he tugged at all our hearts when he mentioned Eddie being inducted into the Hall Of Fame there. It's really hard to hate a guy who shows such honor to a man such as Eddie and holds the mic out to the fans as they show their respect. Why does Cena have to be such a nice guy?
As I write this I have a thought. I can't imagine how hard it had to be for Vickie when Eddie died. It had to take a lot for her to join the WWE and work the way she does as that was always Eddie's world. She has to be faced with something that was very much Eddie every time she's at work. Now that's not unusual, but that the fans pour out so much love for him every time Eddie's name is mentioned. Does that rip through her heart or has she made peace with it all so she can get the warm fuzzies that her husband is still so beloved? I'd love to be able to talk to her about this.
Now back to the real work. Miz, of course, was fabby. That man can turn a phrase and get heat in such an interesting way. I know I keep comparing him to Jericho, but I don't think I'm out of line with this one. Heck, I'd love to see them either sparring or tagging together. Promos with the two of them could be tons of fun. Okay, I know Jericho said he's done with the E, but I think the blond doth protest too much. Guess we'll all just have to wait and see!
Cena vs Miz
C > I really didn't know where they were going with this. Cena calls out Kane and ends up in a Match with Miz, of all people. I was worried that we'd been fed a swerve and wouldn't be seeing Kane and Cena having some sort of feud. I couldn't help but giggle when Miz decided that everything he said before the Match suddenly didn't matter as he was suddenly having his derriere handed to him in the ring. Have to love the crying whining heels!
Winner – Cena via Count Out
In Ring Segment
B+ > I admit I was thrilled to see R-Truth come out and attack Miz. First off, R-Truth handled the changes in his character beautifully, secondly Miz sold the beat down. That R-Truth went from sneering at the Little Jimmies to channeling them is a very interesting turn of events. Is that what normally happens when a wrestler is sent home on a Wellness Violation? Sorry, I couldn't pass that one up! But honestly, the way R-Truth worked his face as he was leaving the ringside area was genius. That man can play deranged in a way I didn't think he was capable of. I know I've said it before, but I never held any stock in R-Truth. I didn't think he had that intangible thing that makes a wrestler a star. I never though he had it until the most recent carnations of his character. I will absolutely admit that I was wrong.
Big Show vs Otunga
C+ > While I will agree with Richard that Otunga has a solid look and the outside media attention because of his ever changing relationship with Hudson, I don't think Otunga is that interesting or exciting. The sweaters and bow ties are cute in a lame and corny way, but his ring work has never been impressive and I don't find his mic work at all creative or even worth the TV time.
We all knew that Henry would be out to attack Big Show when he was all tied up, but I admit I wasn't expecting Bryan to run to Big Show's aid. The question is where are they going with all of this? Is one of them going to turn heel on the other so they can have an actual feud or is something else in the mix? Or, even better, are they at a loss for a direction for these guys since Henry is injured? It sure feels that way. Though I will admit to enjoying seeing Bryan having such fun and Otunga being chokeslammed!
Winner – Who knows?
D > Well, this was a train wreck! The only thing at all interesting here was the mods made to ADR's wheelchair. Well, the Bellas falling all over ADR was sort of gross, but not really interesting. I might have picked him to win the Royal Rumble Match, but he's let me down over and over since that night. So sad to see how our relationship has crumbled.
Punk's Gauntlet Match
I guess I shouldn't have gotten my heart up. I had really hoped that the hometown curse wouldn't be perpetuated here as Punk has previously won in Chicago, but no such luck. Guess lightening doesn't strike twice. Honestly I really wondered how Punk would get through the gaunt as Henry isn't cleared for the ring, or wasn't last I knew, but Laurinaitis took care of that, didn't he?
The person I feel bad for in all of this is Swagger. He's held the strap and is continually getting the short end of the stick. It's more than time that his character is changed up. He's stale and boring! I will say that I'm not unhappy to see Dolph getting the rub here. It was time for him to drop the US Title and move his way up the food chain. The only problem I have with how it went down here is that while he won, there were three other people involved to make sure he lost. To me that made Dolph look a bit weak in my book. I don't expect Dolph will beat Punk next week, but I do hope for a solid Match without any interference, no matter how much Vickie, Swagger and Laurinaitis try. Mostly I'm just bummed we didn't get to see Laurinaitis lace up and head down the ramp on his skateboard.
Winner – Dolph
In Ring Segment
98/100 > The reason I graded this differently is because I wanted to give it an A+, but there's two niggling little details I just cannot overlook. First off I kind of wished that Kane had returned as strong and silent, or did when this first started, I no longer feel that way because of how great this segment turned out. The second issue I had with this segment was that Kane's 'STOP!' was so late in coming. He is normally so good, so amazingly good that this little timing issue just threw me off so badly.
Other than those things, I'm blown away. The facial expressions Kane had behind that mask, the way he spoke, the tone of his voice and they way he verbally worked over Cena made me love that he's returned into this feud, going after Cena as he is. I've almost always been a Glen fan, but last night he made me smile in a way I haven't for him in a very long time. The return of masked Kane has brought him full circle in some ways. I honestly wasn't sure it would be possible to successfully re-mask him, but it works for me. He mentioned briefly about this being his true self, his essence. As long as he doesn't push this character point, lets it drop without another comment, then the return of the mask should go off without a hitch.
Cena showed something in this segment that I didn't think he possessed, something I hold in high regard but did not think him capable of – Cena expressed more visually than he possibly could have through words. The emotions that ran across Cena's face made the length of this segment more than worth the time. In fact, I'm planning on watching it again just to revel in the leaps Cena and his character made in this segment. The way Cena's character is changing, or being forced to change is rather intriguing.
The only thing I did find strange about this segment was when the camera panned the audience, a great number of the people there were not cheering or booing. Specifically the fans on the floor seemed to be watching the whole segment closely, but not reacting in any verbal way. I find that rather interesting and odd. If anyone goes to a RAW event, please tell me how the crowd reacts to Cena/Kane. I'm not sure how to take their lack of reaction or if it was maybe just a momentary thing, but either way it's fans not reacting to Cena and that's not a good thing for him.
Okay, at some point during this show something was mentioned about being a 'Superfan', but I have no clue when or where it happened. If anyone has a clue, please let me know as I feel like I'm losing my mind.
I read on the front page of WNW that the WWE has trademarked the term WrestleFest. It was also stated that there was a WWF game by the same name. On a whim I went on ebay to see if I could find the game and figure out what systems it was for, etc. While looking there I discovered someone selling the arcade version of the game. Yes, I mean that huge machine you'd go and play at the arcade. The listing was for pickup only, but it's only in New Hampshire. Well, I talked to Stacy and we jumped on it. When I get it home I will be posting pictures of it for everyone. I'm kind of in awe and I can't say it was the smartest way to use the money we received over the holidays, but we both knew we'd be kicking ourselves if we didn't jump on this opportunity. After it's set up, everyone's more than welcome to come over and drop quarters in to play, just let me know ahead of time.
I just want to end this with my favorite comedic masked Kane clip. I have and will always be a Kane-en-ite!