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RAW Is Blogged - AJ's Manly Man Collection

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I know I said that I would be starting this off by writing about either Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins, but it had slipped my mind that I couldn't not talk about TLC. So, I have already written up the short bios for Ambrose and Rollins and those will be posted in RIBs to come. (EDIT – Big E Langston will be added to my bio list for the coming weeks.)

The WWE did a lovely job of starting TLC with a 26 bell salute for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. I was wondering if they would do something, and I thought they handled it well. I have to admit that I was worried about TLC early on Sunday night. Even though the first couple matches were good, they were kind of sleepers without much excitement. They were good matches, but nothing to write home about, even though everyone looked good in the ring. I'm still trying to figure out how R-Truth managed to get hurt in such a way. One of the matches without a gimmick and he's the one with the biggest injury. I'm sure R-Truth is going to be fine, but that is going to be a tough heal right over the cap of the knee. Hopefully they will keep him around to run with Kofi, because even when they're not tagging, they play off each other creatively. It could only help Kofi, and will give R-Truth a jumping point when he returns from the injured list.

Wait, Miz TV? Why? I can understand putting together the match they did, and turning ADR, but this was more of the early part of the PPV being drawn out and rather boring.

Kingston and Barrett worked a solid match, but as with the Tables Match and the US Title, it wasn't a showstopper. I really thought Barrett needed this win, as did almost every other predictor, Brooks was the only one who stuck with Kofi and he was right. I'm interested in seeing where they're going from here – continuing the feud and stepping it up a notch?

I, along with most in the Live Blog, thought that the TLC Match was going to be later in the show, if not the main event. It only makes sense that the TLC Match main event the TLC PPV, but putting it where they did really brought the PPV alive. I'll admit that I was worried about this match for so many reasons, which I mentioned in my predictions, but those worries were blown away in a show stealing match. Reigns more than stepped up, and other than the way Ryback sent Rollins through the tables, he looked pretty good too. (To all the people who are still complaining about Ryback's ring work, please go back and watch some of Ryback's FCW matches, he really is much better than most are giving him credit for.) I think Reigns has changed some opinions of him backstage, and hopefully he'll just grow from there. This was a TLC match like we haven't seen since the epitome of TLC matches – Dudleys, Hardys and E&C. I won't say that this was better than those matches – I don't need Bully getting mad at me the way Mark Henry is mad at Richard – but I will say that it lit up Brooklyn in a way I didn't think possible. Those six men went out there and proved that they deserved to be there. I'm more than impressed, and I can't wait to see what they're capable of.

The Divas Title Match was a throwaway, other than the fact that Naomi proved than she's more than just a dancing Dactyl. She really impressed me.

That Chairs Match was about what I expected from these two. They didn't let down in and way, and brought the fans back from their bathroom break, I mean Divas Match.

Bringing the Brooklyn Brawler in for this match made sense. They were there in Brooklyn and he was already backstage, made sense. Well, it did except for the total snub of both Ryder and El Local. Many in the Live Blog, especially after the way 3MB went after Spanish Announce, really wanted El Local to make his WWE debut, but it wasn't in the cards. I can't say this was a bad match, but it was nothing compared to the best of the show. It was obviously put in for ADR's big face change. This should be interesting to watch.

Of course Cena had to have the main event. Actually, I can't complain too much because it meant Ziggler was in the main event, and that's a great step up for him. Actually, feuding with Cena has done nothing but help Ziggler recently. I had my fingers crossed that the WWE wasn't going to screw Ziggler over and have Cena win this MITB case. Cena didn't need to win this, whereas Ziggler needed that extra little vote of confidence. As expected, Ziggler really worked this match hard, but wasn't reckless. He is continuing to prove he's the Superstar he is, and is impressing me with every step. I had questioned the possibility of AJ costing Cena the match, either by accident or on purpose, and I was right. I have to admit that I was a bit worried watching that tiny little thing pushing over that huge ladder, but she did a great job of it. I know she's solid muscle, but she really is little. Actually, she was really adorable hitting Cena's 5 knuckle shuffle as well. I like that she turned on Cena as it adds more depth and interest to the storylines, and made sure Ziggler won the match – always good!

I really enjoyed TLC, much more than I expected. I feel it was one of the best PPV we've seen in recent months, and made that way by the TLC, Chairs and Ladders Matches.

I want to mention that I'm not writing a play-by-play of WWE's Tribute To The Troops on Wednesday, but I will be blogging about it. Also, I will not be writing the RAW Results on this coming Monday as it's Christmas Eve and I plan on spending the time with my family. I will get the RIB up at some point, but don't expect it until Wednesday after Christmas. Thanks for bearing with me through the holidays. One last thing, I will be announcing the winner of the WNW Prediction Challenge after the first of the year. Everyone who's put in formal predictions over the past year are in the running. Who will come out on top for 2012?

Show Starts

Video > B

They showed a decent little setup for the Slammy Awards with bit from years past.

Announce Segment > B+

Nice to see JBL, Cole and King in tuxes for the festive event. They looked spiffy and recapped TLC as a little reminder starting RAW.

Rey vs Sandow > B-

I know Sandow and Rhodes went over Rey and Sin Cara at TLC, but I didn't think it was good for Rey to go over Sandow here. I'm not saying Sandow needs to win every match, but he's on his way up and I felt he should have gone over here. Honestly, this wasn't a great match, but there were very few great matches on this episode of RAW. Only because of who was in it and how they handled themselves was this better than an average match – barely.

Winner – Rey (3:09)

Slammy Award – Tell Me I Did Not Just See That Shocking Moment of The Year > B-

I really shouldn't have been surprised to see Boogeyman with Booker, as they are friends. Booker handled himself well, and he really is the only person who can present this award. I'm just glad we only saw Boogeyman for that brief moment, and didn't have to see him eat worms on TV. Honestly, I'd forgotten about Kofi's handstand at the Royal Rumble, but that was a pretty kick butt move, and he deserves the Slammy for that one.

Eve vs Kaitlyn > D+

I know both Kaitlyn and Eve are solid in the ring, but this match was a nothing. These Divas are better than this match, but I liked Eve's GTS-esque finisher. Make it more her own and she might have a new winner on her hands. I'm actually a bit shocked she's gone that way, she's marrying into the Gracie camp, you'd think they would come up with something great for her, but it is what it is. I will say it was nice to see Kaitlyn come out on top. Maybe she will actually win the Divas Title at some point soon?

Winner – Kaitlyn (2:06)

Slammy Award – Comeback of The Year > A

I was thrilled to see the New Age Outlaws! I've always been a fan of theirs. Okay, except when Gunn was running as Cute Kip, that was a bit much. That a man who ran under the name Mr. Ass could be so abused says a lot. I love RD, and I miss hearing his voice on RAW. Even hearing the same schpeal he used to give week in and week out, it never got old.

I think it was a given that King win this Slammy. He really did have quite the year, and we're lucky to still have him to entertain us each week. I loved how JBL asked what King was going to do next year to top this. Actually, the way King ran up that ramp like it was nothing was great to see. Also, now King has more Slammy Awards than Cole does. Cole was making a big deal at the start of the show that they had the same number of Slammys, three, but now King has four, hee hee.

Kingston vs Tensai > D+

Wow, Tensai's stock has fallen, big time! That Kingston so easily trashed Tensai – even though all the matches were very short – shows what a mess Tensai has turned into.

Barrett's attack on Kingston was more interesting than the actual match. Sorry Tensai.

Winner – Kingston (1:07)

Slammy Award – Kiss of The Year > A-

I would have given this an A if not for segments to come. I love that AJ's kisses were all the kisses nominated, even though there was one other kiss I can think of off the top of my head. I found it interesting that they went with AJ's kiss with Cena, but it did make sense with the the the kiss that quickly followed. I have to give AJ props for making these kisses look hotter and hotter. She's a little spitfire and continues to impress the heck out of me in her ever changing roles in the WWE. I also love the way that Ziggler took off running after AJ after she skipped away.

Khali & Otunga > F+

The only redeeming factor for this match was Natalya ringside. She's really beautiful, but I'm confused about her running with Khali. Why is she continually screwed over?

Winner – Khali (1:55)

Announce Segments > F-

I understand the WWE wanting to push their app, but every time they were on the screen they were explaining to us how to download their app and that we can do it on any type of device and it got to be more than too much. The first couple times annoyed me, after that I was almost pissed off. That was beyond ridiculous. I know VKM thinks we're all idiots without any memories, but that was disgusting.

Slammy Award – Superstar of The Year > A

Wooooo! I will admit that I was shocked to see him, but I thought that the legal ban on former TNA roster was to bring them in on any shows and/or pay them for a show. I was wondering about the WWE bringing people in creative ways, but I'm a bit shocked it's taken this long for it to happen. I think Flair did a great job on mic in this segment. He worked the fans, bringing them to the brink of explosion.

Cena handled the abuse of the fans really well. Actually, I really liked how Flair asked about the fans hating him so much. Cena did the right thing in giving the Slammy to Flair. It was a gracious move, something very in Cena's character.

Punk also did a great job working with Flair, both on stage and in the ring. That Punk's crutch broke so easily makes me wondering if he was hobbling on just one crutch. Honestly, I'd be surprised if he really NEEDS the crutches right now, but it further sells the injury and keeps the fans from screaming about Punk not really being injured.

And then there was The Shield. Personally I thought they handled working with Flair well, and had to be a bit giddy about it all, even though they couldn't really show it. Ryback's show of respect to Flair was also lovely, but not at all unexpected. I have one last say about this Slammy Award, but I will address it in my final comments, as I think it's something that needs to stand alone.

Backstage Segment > A+

I didn't give this segment an A because it was Flair. Anyone who has read what I've written about Flair over the years knows that I haven't always been his biggest fan, or even a fan at all much of the time – playing frat boy with his little stable in TNA made me gag – but he did earn a lot back from me on RAW last nigh. What earned an A is another one of those segments between Team Hell No backstage. Those two are gold together, and then adding in Flair and capping it off with "DAMN!" that was just wonderful!

Funkasaurus vs JTG > C-

JTG did not look too impressed getting into the ring for this match. As I haven't seen him lately, I have no clue what his character is supposed to be, but it really seemed like being on RAW was more of a chore than a bonus check. Of course it was another nothing of a match, but that's most of what they were last night. (Watching Smackdown Live as I'm writing this, they seem to be making up for the lack of matches of any length with this show.)

Winner – Funkasaurus (1:59)

Slammy Award – LOL Moment of The Year > B

Santino really did a great job with the Fat Albert comment. I think "There is no teleprompter!" is the first thing we've heard from Albert in English since his return to the WWE. Actually, I think changing up Tensai, making him more comical – or something – could only help him and his character at this point. He really did quite a solid job of being knocked silly last night, and sold the goofy so well. And I'm stating it here now, unless he proves himself to be Tensai, I can't think of him as more than Albert. The WWE would do well to change Tensai up, possibly bringing back Albert in some way. Please don't be surprised if I refer to him as Albert, because that's how I am thinking of him again, more and more. I don't know how many times I've had to change his name from Albert, especially more recently. Please bear with me and my use of Albert.

Oh, yeah, I wasn't surprised The Rock won the Slammy. It is what it is, even though Anger Management was much better (and probably more historically accurate) than Rocky throwing Cena merch in the Boston Harbon. Bryan made the lack of Rock being live into something that was great fun. Even better was the way Kane carried Bryan backstage.

Rhodes vs Sin Cara > B

This was actually a better match on RAW. I won't say it was great, but it was better than most. I know there's more than one wrestler running with the last name Rhodes, but Cody is the only one actively wrestling, and he's more than earned the respect of being referred to by his sir name. It's a show of respect and one he absolutely deserves.

Winner – Rhodes (4:18)

Slammy Award – Trending Now # of The Year > C-

So, Ryder was snubbed at TLC and sent out for this schlock? I'd be pretty disgusted if I was him. The only redeeming part of this whole thing is that Layla looked lovely out there, but he looked really nonplussed about the whole thing. I know why #feedmemore won, but that one made me a bit ill.

In Ring Segment > B+

This was an riveting little segment all the way around. Between the crap Big Show took from the fans – that was harsh, and the upstanding way Sheamus conducted himself. Then there was Ziggler almost cashing in – I was yelling and marking out as he ran to the ring – to Cena running out and attacking Ziggler to end the possible cashing in. Other than the Big Show part, it was fast paced and worked well. I will admit I was a bit surprised at the abuse wrought upon Big Show as he is such a long time work horse who is impressive that he can still walk, never mind work the level he does to this day. I understand the verbal abuse, he is a heel, but the 'boring' chants? That's what shocked me.

Backstage Segment > B+

I really like the way Ziggler handled Vickie backstage. Many of us have been saying for a long time that Ziggler needs to get away from Vickie, though wondered if he could handle all the mic work without her. He proved it here. Actually, he's been proving it week in and week out, but this sealed the deal. Vickie was the always hated here, but Ziggler commanded the attention of the fans and was absolutely believable. Again, further impressed by Ziggler and his climb to the top.

3mbvs Miz & ADR 7 Dreamer > A-

This was less about the actual ring work, which was actually quite solid, and more about Dreamer's return to Philly. Those fans were wild for Dreamer, and Dreamer looked like he was about to cry as he made his way to the ring. I have to say that Dreamer looked better in the ring than I expected, but I will fully admit that I'm very biased as a huge Dreamer fan. He's also one of the nicest big name wrestlers I've met.

Beyond that, all the guys in this match looked really strong, stronger than I thought Mahal really was. They all worked the only match worth any substance, and sold it beautifully. Miz took the better part of the abuse and sold every move from the heels. I have to admit that I'm actually liking ADR a bit this week. I do wish he'd change things up in the ring, but that he tagged out and gave Dreamer the win, and made it look good, not at all like he was only doing it because it was booked that way. I'm hoping ADR changes up his ring work in the coming weeks, that would help make his face turn even more believable. I wonder who Miz and ADR will bring in to round out their team for their next match against 3MB? Also, I wonder how far they're going to take this?

Winners – ADR & Miz & Dreamer (14:14)

Slammy Award – Newcomer of The Year > C

Sheamus was against the eight ball when he went out to the stage because Dreamer was still ringside. The fans cared more about chanting 'ECW' than what Sheamus was talking about. I thought Sheamus handled it well considering the spot he was in up there.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at who won this Slammy, but I honestly had a hard time choosing. Ryback, being the biggest face of the group, had to win it, but both Sandow and Cesaro deserved it too. Funkasaurus has also made a splash, but nothing to the level of the other three. Interesting to note that Cole had been making such a big deal of being the winner of three Slammy Awards early on RAW, well Ryback won three of them in two days.

Cesaro vs Ryback > B

I would love to see these two really go at it! (Actually, watch their match on Smackdown Live, I was pretty impressed.) I liked that Ryback didn't go over Cesaro clean in this short little match. Even though Ryback is supposed to be so big and scary, it would have really hurt Cesaro's push. Actually, take off some of Ryback's sheer bulk, and these two are of a size. I think, personally, pound for pound, Cesaro is a stronger man. I would be interesting to see how a straight up test of strength between these two would go.

Winner – Ryback via DQ (2:45)

Slammy Award – Match of The Year > A

It was great to see Mean Gene, Steamboat and JR, even if for just a few minutes. They all looked great up there. I have to say I'm absolutely thrilled that Rock vs Cena didn't win this Slammy. Even more, I was giddy that Triple H and Undertaker did. I will admit that I was truly bummed that Taker wasn't there, but I wasn't surprised. There's almost no way Taker could have flown into Philly without being caught.

Trip handled himself well up there. He was honest and endearing. Between joking about his hair, and then turning the chants back on the fans and being so openly honest thanking them (us). Further, the way he spoke about Taker was just lovely. The respect between these two was palpable, and that means a lot in this industry. I like how Trip handled the million dollar question while not saying a word about the possibility of himself ever stepping back into the ring, it was all about Taker, and that was really big of him.

Ziggler & AJ vs Cena & Vickie >

I have to say that AJ looked amazing at the top of that ladder. It was one thing to see her push a ladder that size, with Cena on it, over at TLC, but another thing to see her atop that ladder the way she was. Further, I love how Vickie cut AJ off, it kept AJ from telling us the answer to that big question of why?

I can't say this was much of a match, because it wasn't. The little throw down between AJ and Vickie was basically nothing, then Ziggler and Cena didn't have a lot of time to really work the ring. I absolutely loved the 'Ziggler' better!' chants from the fans. It wasn't just a couple people chanting this, it was a big proportion of the crowd, and they pushed that chant through loudly on TV a couple times in this very short match. I will give Cena props for using some more interesting moves at TLC, but in this match he was boring old five moves of doom Super Cena. Ziggler, as always, looked dang solid, as a champion should, and he will be a champ – soon!

I was quite shocked when AJ returned with Big E Langston. I've read people saying that he looks like a cross between this wrestler and that wrestler, but I see quite a bit of Alfonso Ribeiro mixed in there. The poor guy looked totally lost last night. He actually looked quite scared. I've since read that he's been a face all along and has never played heel. (I thought he came across stronger facially on Smackdown Live.) I can't say what I think about him yet, I haven't seen enough from him, but I will say that I like the few moves I've seen him hit. He could be a powerhouse, but I'm worried about personality – or lack thereof. I was left with more questions than answers at the end of this match, and I think that's a great thing. I will admit that I'm struggling through writing this as I've seen Smackdown Live – something I don't have to contend with normally – so I want to put some of my feelings and reactions to that in here, but this is about RAW and needs to stay that way.

Winners – Cena & Vickie via DQ (4:26)

Post Show

People have been asking if Flair might be returning to the ring, especially after what Flair said in a video about waiting 60 days. I know his retirement from the ring was storyline, and I wouldn't be adverse to Flair returning to the ring in a VERY limited capacity, but the last thing I want to see is any skin. Flair seemed to keep losing his clothing every time he was getting abused in TNA, and it made me quite ill to see. Personally I think he'd be better in a managerial role – heel or face – but only time will tell.

After all the complaints and nastiness in the comments section of yesterday's RAW Results, I have to ask everyone a question. Who here really voted for any of the Slammy Awards? There were so many complaints about Cena winning, and Punk not winning, and abusing Cena for this reason or that, and abusing Punk for this reason or that, and screaming about how the Slammy Awards were all fixed, but who really voted? I will fully admit that I have the WWE App downloaded on my cell phone, but I did not vote because I just did not have the time to do so. Monday nights I barely have time to breathe, never mind follow the WWE App and vote for anything, though I would have if I'd had the time.

Also, with The Shield appearing, and now Big E Langston, what happened to Fandago?


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