Hello, all, and welcome to my first and potentially only edition of the Rundown. Coincidentally, my needs last week were timed just before Mr. Landau’s needs this week, and so I find myself pulling double duty. I’m happy to do it, as although Guy and I have an intercontinental rivalry of words going over April Jeanette Lee, he’s like the Magneto to my Professor X, and he’s a friend.
This week was our Go-Home week for the Royal Rumble, and besides the build of Sheamus to come out as the odds on favorite and the match to determine entrant number one between Miz and Truth, the hype for this year’s Rumble has been relatively quiet. I’m not sure whether this is because we’re coming down off of the Largest Royal Rumble in History last year, or if the core of “household” Superstars has been severely depleted since last year, but this match should have been the focal point of both shows this week. One of the biggest ‘features,’ if you can call it that, is that every Superstar is eligible for entry into the Rumble, regardless of whether they have competed in a match or not. Now, maybe I’ve gotten my World War 3 mixed up with the Rumble (odd, I know), but I was under the impression that that’s been done before. Ah well. Anyone that’s read my Smackdown blog knows that I’m picking Wade Barrett as my winner this year (or number..23 I think I said), but I suppose that with this stipulation of sorts being advertised, there’s a very strong chance that a loser of a match earlier in the night will come back to win it. Alright, let’s get this thing started with Posits, Queschies, and Negs.
+ Punk and Cena’s opening promo on Raw – Originally, this was going to be just Punk, but the difference in Cena’s delivery during this promo stood out to me. None of the cheesy appeal to the masses, none of the HLR stuff, he got straight down to business. The fact that he didn’t interrupt Johnny Ace to spew out some more PG stuff makes me happier, too.
+ Dolph Ziggler’s promo to Punk on Raw – Short, sweet, and to the point. Ziggler is quickly becoming one of the best in the company right now because he can make things look so effortless. He’s showing that he doesn’t need Vickie as a mouthpiece anymore, and while I like the idea of Vickie being a manager of a stable, I think it’s time that everyone went their separate ways.
+ The booking of Dolph Ziggler on Raw – In a program that sees the champion too focused on rebelling against authority and not on his prestigious championship, the challenger has risen to make it look like it means something to him. He has defeated Punk four times, and he saved the build to the championship match by coming out at the very end to lay out the champ.
+ The Jericho Video Package – The way this package was put together makes me think/believe that Jericho’s retiring soon. I’m fairly sure that’s not the case, but I loved the way they incorporated all of his greatest angles and gimmicks. Actually, Jericho’s never really had a ‘gimmick’ in WWE – he’s just been JERICHO and that’s always been enough.
+ Announcing during the Kane/Ryder match – Well, okay, maybe not DURING but towards the end when they were discussing having the match stopped, the gravity of the situation became apparent. If I weren’t smart enough, I’d believe it.
+ Barrett on commentary – YEAH! I think Barrett’s got himself a job after he’s done competing in the ring. Let’s just hope they don’t relegate him to dance offs with the next dance gimmick, 20 years from now.
+ Miz, Truth, and Laurinaitis segment – Miz’ promos have been fairly boring lately, as has his gimmick, but this week he was right on. I loved R-Truth coming in with a doctor’s get up, being really silly, funny, then bringing it all back to reality with the ‘jackass’ comment. Also, John Laurinaitis coming into frame being all psyched for his match showed a great glimmer of personality that I hope continues for the otherwise bland GM.
+ R-Truth’s New Shirt – Yeahhhhhh buddy!
+ The stipulation of the loser being #1 in the Rumble – I miss these kinds of things leading up to the Rumble. Whether it’s the loser is #1, or the winner is #30, or the winner gets to choose their spot, I think more should be made of when you can enter into the match.
+ Big Show, Bryan, and Henry from SD – A solid opening segment that, while fairly formulaic as commenter JBreed will tell you, showed the tension between the three men heading into their triple threat steel cage match.
+ Rhodes/Gabriel – I’ll give this a neg later for being under five minutes, but for the short time it was allowed, this match was awesome. Call it a teaser, but I’m glad that Gabriel is getting some sort of attention, even though he’s on the losing side. He may not have taken a conventional way to get to an IC Title match (saving Hornswoggle), but he’s there now.
+ No Hornswoggle – ‘Nuff said.
+ Santoshi/Yoshitino – ‘Nuff said.
+ Drew McIntyre – Drew brought it this week against Sheamus. I’m used to seeing his formulaic matches, but Drew is showing more and more the desperation of a man who needs to win. I’ll come back to Drew in a neg later.
+ Yoshi Tatsu on SD – Yoshi has had all the potential to be a great mainstay on WWE TV. Perhaps not a major title holder just yet, but he’s engaging, exciting, athletic, and easy to cheer for. I hope they keep this pairing up and make them contenders.
+ Daniel Bryan playing both sides – While his motives were obvious and his intentions should have been plastic-wrap-clear to everyone, it’s his facial expressions that make everything believable. From his sly grin as Henry and Show were booked against each other, to his sincere look as he talked to Henry, to his look of terror backing away from Show, Bryan’s facial expressions are a huge part of his success as a character.
+ Hunico/DiBiase – I was just thinking that this angle was getting stale, but with the unfortunate (or fortunate?) injury to DiBiase, this could be just what this feud needs to breathe new life into it. We’ll see DiBiase with a little bit of time off, hopefully, and he’ll come back with new music, new attitude, and with a vengeance against the Barrio Brothers. We know DiBiase can be intense.
+ Natalya putting Aksana in a Sharpshooter – Because after that match, I wanted that Lithuanian waif broken in half.
+ The final segment between Show and Bryan - I think Bryan still looked strong against show, even in ultimately being on the ‘losing’ side of the brawl. He locked the LeBell lock in and showed some aggression. While I think he no-sold the chokeslam a bit, I like him backing away from Show’s W.M.D.
Okay, so that was a lot of Posits, let’s get to some Negs
- The build to the WWE Title match – With the exception of Ziggler being focused on the task at hand, this title match on Sunday is really more about Laurinaitis and Punk than it is Ziggler and Punk. One could argue that the Austin/McMahon series was like this, but the big difference is that Austin would always bring it back to being the Champion and how much it meant to him. I get the idea from Punk that it’s definitely not about being Champion, but about being a thorn in Johnny’s side. With Austin, it was both.
- Jericho’s Promo – I know. It was edgy! It was mysterious! It was…underwhelming? I don’t think it was underwhelming as far as his character goes, but as far as the Rumble goes? I know I said that there hasn’t been much build to the Rumble, but there are so many stories that are going to be intertwined in the match that it seems like Jericho is going to be lost in the mix. I’m not going to lie, I’ll be sorely disappointed if Jericho wins the Rumble.
- Ryder/Kane and Ryder’s Write-Off – I don’t think the match was nearly as time consuming as everyone made it out to be, but I do think it went on a tad too long. All of that beating up PLUS the two commercial break long stretchering out? Shorten the ‘match’ and get to the poorly-executed-punchline of a chokeslam through the stage quicker, and the whole segment could have been a success. Also, what’s going to become of Ryder now? He was in the middle of a huge wave of momentum, and now he’s out? Also, what the heck was up with Cena’s after Ryder got taken out? I was enjoying his silence and anger up until it looked like he took the camera in his hands and did that goofy face.
- Kane Running Away – John Cena appears and Kane leaves? You could argue mind games, sure, but that’s not what it looked like.
- Jinder Mahal – I know Guy has said (and I agree) that Mahal hasn’t been ready for a push, but to go on building him like he’s a serious threat to Sheamus, only to get KO’ed for the 3rd or 4th time by a Brogue Kick?
- The Announce Team (and Arena?) forgetting R-Truth’s Finisher – Okay, the finish came out of nowhere, but hey, that was his finisher! Don’t act so surprised that he got the three count after it.
- Laurinaitis getting Punk’d – Okay, the neg is not so much for the actual act of him getting the G.T.S., but more for the lack of emotion and expression. Kendra brought it up numerous times, but you think he could at least muster up a look of shock and awe.
- Rhodes/Gabriel – Under five minutes? C’mon man. I’m sure these two could put on a stellar match. Could this be a surprise match at the Rumble? Hmm.
-Drew McIntyre - They’re going to need to find something for this guy and quick. MVP was able to get the crowd to pity him, and that’s why the face turn was effective. Drew has NOTHING. The crowd doesn’t care that he’s losing, and that’s not going to be good for him at all.
- The interruption of Orton/Barrett – I get what they were trying to accomplish here, I do. But you can’t have referees coming down, breaking up a fight in the ring that was SUPPOSED to happen. It was an advertised match, right? It would have been one thing if they never went into the ring, but they did, and fairly quickly, I might add. I’m pretty sure the ref should have started the match.
- Natalya’s Fart – I. Cannot. Believe. I. Just. Typed. That. The fact that I did angers me so much. I’ll rant more in my Smackdown blog, but seriously? On top of that, I had to force myself to watch it again because I didn’t understand what happened – it sounded like Cole snorting. I might boycott WWE if they make this into an angle.
- PG? What’s that? – Seriously, I’m not sure how blood and cursing don’t get the greenlight from WWE when the line, “Whack job? Look, what I do with Teddy in our private time…” gets approval. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed, but then I thought about how absolutely ridiculous that that line be given the okay. Actually, the whole character of Aksana being approved is ridiculous.
- Natalya’s Match – You’ve got to be kidding me, right? Right? I mean, GEEZ.
- Alex Riley - Seriously? We didn’t run out of heel jobbers, I promise. Get one of the NXT kids to lose to Clay. I know Alex Riley isn’t the greatest in the ring, but since when did that matter to the powers that be? This was NOT the right person to have job to Brodus.
- Henry/Show – Okay…I know injuries happen, but at least show us what took place! I’m glad Bryan saved the segment, but within the scope of the timing of the show, it really looks like the main event was supposed to be a bust anyways!
Finally, let’s do some further pondering on these Queschies
? Brodus Clay – Okay, he could be a constant, but since I forgot that part of the blog, he’s going here. I started out with Clay as a Posit, but with the way he’s been booked – that is, squashing faces, having matches that just fast forward to dancing – I’m not sure anymore. If this keeps up through February, I’m going to dislike Clay – and I don’t want to dislike the Funkasaurus.
? Cody Rhodes – Where’s he going now? He seems to be in a sort of Limbo. I don’t know if this feud with Gabriel can go for another month.
? Zack Ryder – What are they going to do with him when he comes back? I’m not sure if I’ll buy a crazed, angry Zack Ryder.
That’s your Rundown, kids. This was not a strong go home week for the Rumble, which is a Big Four PPV. I’m still not even sure of the rest of the card. I would think there would be at least two more matches than what’s already been announced. Raw was better than Smackdown this week – that’s not something I’ll admit to all the time. I’ll be back much later tonight with my full Smackdown blog. I hope I did this blog justice Guy – I’m writing it at 1 in the morning. Thought provoking comments and questions? Just leave them below! Thanks for reading!