12/24 Powell's WWE Raw Not Even Live By WWE Standards Coverage Review: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight, Big Show vs. Sheamus in a Lumber-Jack Frost match, C.M. Punk vs. Ryback hype
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped in Pittsburgh, Pa.
[Q1] The show opened with the animated WWE Christmas video that was released online... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler checked in and then turned things over to ring announcer Justin Roberts, who introduced Santa Claus as the special guest host. Santa walked down the ramp with a sack of toys and passed them out at ringside. There were Christmas trees and presents set up on the stage...
Ricardo Rodriguez walked onto the stage as Alberto Del Rio's music played. Del Rio drove his car out near the stage and struck Santa with it. Del Rio got out of the car and both he and Ricardo looked remorseful and concerned. The paramedics ran out and tended to Santa and placed him on a stretcher. Santa gave a thumbs up sign as he was being stretchered to the back... [C]
Powell's POV: They did a Santa Claus stretcher job on Christmas Eve? This wasn't even a case of an over the top wrestler comically dressed in Santa gear. Rather, it was Mick Foley dressed up in a way that kids wouldn't recognize him. In other words, they played it straight. I wouldn't care if this were the Attitude Era when kids should not have been watching anyway, but this was pretty out there for a show that caters to kids. They even showed closeup shots of the concerned reactions of kids in the crowd. Of course, it will all have a happy ending, but it was just an odd choice.
After the break, Cole noted that the area where the accident occurred was now a crime scene that was surrounded by yellow tape. They recapped the angle and noted that Del Rio was trying to say it was an accident. "There was a ray of hope when Santa Claus gave a thumbs up," Cole said. He promised updates on Santa throughout the evening...
Backstage, Booker T, Teddy Long, and a group of wrestlers surrounded the trainer's room. Booker told them that Santa was down and it didn't look good. Del Rio and Ricardo entered the picture. John Cena confronted them in an over the top manner while yelling about it being Christmas Eve and Santa being run over.
Del Rio said it was an accident and it was Santa's fault because everyone knows he drives his car out for his entrance. "St. Nicholas is a saint," Cena said. Booker said the last thing Santa said was Del Rio would be in a fight. Booker announced Del Rio vs. Cena in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight...
Powell's POV: Santa Claus is no Dorothy Mantooth.
1. Kane vs. Cody Rhodes. The announcers narrated footage of Kane backdropping Cody, causing Cody's injury. Cody targeted Kane's arm throughout the match.
[Q2] Kane went for a chokeslam, but Cody took a shot at his arm again. Eventually, Kane managed to chokeslam Rhodes for the win... [C]
Kane pinned Cody Rhodes.
2. Alicia Fox, Layla, Natalya, and Kaitlyn vs. Eve, Aksana, Rosa, and Tamina Snuka in a Santa's Helper match. The women wore Christmas themed gear. The heels isolated Layla and took turns working her over. She made the hot tag to Kaitlyn. The Divas did the rapid fire finisher routine that ended with Kaitlyn performing her finisher on Layla and pinning her...
[Q3] Cole hyped a Lumer-Jack Frost match. He took a serious tone while teasing an update on Santa Claus for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Lots of mistletoe talk from Lawler, but I think he stopped short of suggesting a Mistletoe on My Pole match.
A graphic noted that Santa makes over 842 million stops on Christmas Eve and travels over 221 million miles to bring toys to over two billion children...
Cousin Eddie's POV: You serious, Clark?
Dolph Ziggler and A.J. Lee were shown getting cozy on a white rug in front of a Christmas tree and a burning fire. They were watching her "favorite Christmas movie." They showed the television screen and it was the Ziggler vs. John Cena ladder match from TLC...
Footage aired of the Santa injury angle from earlier in the show... They went backstage where Matt Striker was inside the trainer's room. Striker said WWE personnel is working on Santa. He said he would pass along updates if there were any... The lumberjacks made their entrances... [C]
[Q4] 4. Big Show vs. Sheamus in a Lumber-Jack Frost match. The lumberjacks were the Prime Time Players, Brodus Clay, The Uso's, 3MB, Santino Marella, Tyson Kidd, and Justin Gabriel. They all wore Santa hats.
Sheamus delivered the big slaps to Sheamus's chest and wished him Merry Christmas. Sheamus returned fire with his forearm shots to the chest. Sheamus set up for the Brogue Kick, but Show rolled to ringside. Show was on the heel side of the ring so they didn't mess with him. [C]
Show put Sheamus in a hold and started singing the Rudolph song to him until Sheamus showed horrible Christmas spirit by clawing at Show's face to break the hold. Sheamus ended up at ringside and the lumberjacks put the boots to him. They heel and babyface lumberjacks fought briefly. Show wore down Sheamus for a few minutes.
[Q5] Sheamus mounted a comeback, but Show caught his Brogue Kick attempt and dumped him to ringside. The heel lumberjacks attacked Shemaus. The babyfaces brawled with the heels. Back inside the ring, Show set up for a knockout punch, but Sheamus avoided it and caught him with a Brogue Kick for the win. The lumberjacks fought inside the ring afterward...
Sheamus pinned Big Show in a non-title match.
Footage aired from Tribute to the Troops of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy on Miz TV with The Miz and Damien Sandow... [C]
5. Zack Ryder vs. David Otunga. Before the match, Otunga went into lawyer mode while defending Del Rio for running over Santa. The crowd rallied behind Ryder, though it only seemed to happen when they were doing closeups of the wrestlers. Read into that what you will. Otunga had the first prolonged stretch of offense.
[Q6] Ryder came back with a missile dropkick and followed up with his Broski Boot for a two count. The live crowd did chant "Woo Woo Woo" per Ryder's prompting. In the end, Ryder performed the Rough Ryder and got the clean win...
Zack Ryder pinned David Otunga.
Backstage, Booker T and Teddy Long watched on a backstage monitor. Booker said the week Vickie Guerrero was on vacation had to be the week they were in charge of the show. They yucked it up a bit and then Brad Maddox entered the room. Maddox said he assumed Booker wanted to give him a contract. Booker said that in the Christmas spirit he would give Maddox one more chance. Booker said Maddox had to beat one of Santa's elves to earn the contract... [C]
A graphic noted that more than three billion holiday cards are sent in the U.S. alone...
Scrooge Powell's POV: Not one of those cards were sent from my home this year. So if you're a family member or a friend, no, I didn't slight you. I just didn't care enough about you or anyone else to spend three bucks on a card and postage, and my girlfriend didn't nag me about this year. Perhaps next year I will blindly sign my name to a card she sticks in front of my face and then pretend to know what the hell you are talking about when you thank me for the card. If you did receive a card and my signature looks shockingly similar to my girlfriend's signature, then please disregard everything you just read and accept this card as a small token of gratitude in exchange for the warmth and comfort that your friendship brings to our lives.
6. Kofi Kingston and The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett. The announcers played up the rough history between Miz and Kingston. In the end, Kingston caught Barrett with a Trouble in Paradise kick from the floor, then Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Barrett and pinned him...
Kofi Kingston and The Miz beat Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett.
[Q7] The announcers hyped the main event and updates on Santa Claus... [C]
A.J. put a ribbon on Dolph's MITB briefcase and he said it was the best present ever. She also removed her robe to show off the Ziggler t-shirt she was wearing. "That is the sexiest thing I have ever seen," Ziggler said... The announcers spoke about the Santa Claus injury angle...
Backstage, Matt Striker said WWE medical personnel were still tending to Santa. He said Del Rio's car did some damage, but that was all he knew...
Brad Maddox made his entrance while singing "Brad Maddox is Coming to Town"... [C]
7. The Great Khali (w/Hornswoggle) vs. Brad Maddox. Yes, Khali and Horny dressed in elf clothes. Hornswoggle came out first and Maddox smirked, but then Horny motioned for Khali to come out. Maddox took slaps to the chest.
[Q8] Maddox managed to catch Khali trying to climb over the top rope to go after him at ringside. He pulled Khali's leg down and then took shots at him. He went to the ropes and dive into a Khali slap to the chest. The rest of the match was all Khali, who won with the Punjabi Plunge. Khali sang a Christmas song...
The Great Khali pinned Brad Maddox.
A shot aired of C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman walking backstage. Punk was still on crutches... [C]
Punk and Heyman made their entrance and headed to the ring while Cole plugged Punk vs. Ryback for the January 7 Raw. Punk mocked the way Great Khali sang and said he must have been from Pittsburgh because he didn't understand a word he said. He blamed Ryback for ruining Christmas and Hanukah by injuring his knee.
Punk said Ryback wasn't fined or suspended, he was rewarded with another title match. Punk said Brad Maddox and The Shield may have gotten involved in their previous matches, but he said no one could prove that he's connected with them because there is no proof.
[Q9] Heyman took the mic and scolded the fans for booing Punk. He said Punk has been the reigning WWE Champion for 400 consecutive days. Heyman said Punk has been the victim of a documented conspiracy within WWE to take the championship away from him.
Heyman said Ryback has received two opportunities to wrestle the title away from Punk and he has failed on both occasions. Punk took the mic and told Ryback that he was better than him on two legs. He said he's better than Ryback with one leg, on crutches, with an amputated leg, etc.
Ryback's music played and he headed to the ring. Heyman told Ryback that Punk is not cleared to wrestle and they will sue him for assault if he lays a finger on him. Ryback said he doesn't need to do that because he got his Christmas present. He said that if Punk is physically able and he should be in two weeks when they meet in a TLC match on January 7. Ryback led the crowd in chanting TLC... [C]
Powell's POV: It's interesting that Ryback said the match will happen if Punk is physically able to wrestle. It could be as simple as Punk playing up the injury only to be forced to wrestle on January 7 because his doctor says he's physically able to do so. It could also be a way to tease the match that night and save it for the 20th Anniversary show on January 14.
8. Daniel Bryan vs. Damien Sandow. After a back and forth match with both men getting their time on on offense, Bryan put Sandow away with the No! Lock...
Powell's POV: Is it just me or is Bryan carrying a few more pounds than usual? The crowd looked really spent. There were loud boos at one point when it didn't look like anyone in the crowd was doing anything but sitting on their hands. Keep in mind that they also sat through the two-hour WWE Smackdown special before the Raw taping. They did come to life for the finish.
[Q10] Cole hyped the 12 Days of Christmas (12-man tag) for after the break...
9. Santino Marella, The Uso's, Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, and Brodus Clay (w/Cameron, Naomi) vs. Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, Tensai, and The Prime Time Players in a 12-man tag. In the end, the babyface tag teams performed a series of flashy moves on Slater. The series concluded with one of the Uso's performing a top rope splash for the win... [C]
Powell's POV: The crowd bounced back for this match. They did a good job of keeping the action going by trading offense and making quick tags to get everyone involved.
[Q11] Backstage, Daniel Bryan was happy because he and Kane won their matches and because he gets to open his presents. Kane said he hates Christmas, but he knows it means a lot to Bryan, so he got him a present. Bryan reached inside a box and pulled out a Slammy award. Bryan was giddy.
Bryan told Kane that he got him something too. He handed him a dog. "Thanks, I'm staving," Kane said. Bryan said "no" repeatedly. "Animals are our friends, not food," Bryan said. Bryan took the dog and stormed off...
A.J. and Dolph were on the couch in front of the fire. A.J. read a Christmas book with WWE rhymes instead. She got Dolph under the mistletoe and they made out so heavily that they fell into the tree and knocked it over...
Cole narrated footage of Santa being run over. Backstage, Striker said Santa had taken a turn for the worse. Santa's heart monitor played Jingle Bells and he started slamming his boots together. Cole said there was a little life left in Santa. Lawler said he was hoping and praying...
John Cena made his entrance. Cena looked into the camera and said this was for Santa... [C] Ricardo tried to introduce Alberto Del Rio, but he was too broken up. Del Rio came out. Ricardo sobbed as he looked down at the "crime scene." Del Rio also looked upset by the scene as he made his way to the ring...
10. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight. The bell rang and Cena told Del Rio that he ran over Santa. Del Rio said it was an accident. He got upset and shoved Cena and the match was on. Del Rio took control and then took the mic and said it was just an accident.
[Q12] Cena took control and unwrapped a present that was set up near a tree at ringside. He pulled out a chair and struck Del Rio with it. Cena had Del Rio pinned, but Ricardo pulled the referee from the ring. Cole quickly reminded viewers that there are no disqualifications.
Ricardo brought Del Rio a present that turned out to be a pie. Del Rio wasn't happy. He tried to slam it on Cena, but Cena moved and Ricardo took the pie. Cole said it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Powell's POV: What the f--- happens at Michael Cole's house on Christmas?
Cena went up to the stage and unwrapped another present, which turned out to be a television monitor that he used as a weapon. [C] After the break, Cena searched for another good present. A "use a tree" chant broke out. Cena obliged by striking Del Rio with a Christmas tree.
Cena unwrapped another present and found a bowling ball, which he bowled into Del Rio's balls (this was actually done in a second tape at the tapings according to our correspondent). Cena unwrapped a fire extinguisher and used it as a weapon.
Del Rio regained control of the offense. Santa's music played and he walked out carrying a sack of presents. Ricardo got excited and tried to hug him, but Santa struck him with the sack. Santa applied the Socko Claw on Del Rio, who then walked into an Attitude Adjustment. Cena and Santa (Mick Foley) hugged...
John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight.
Powell's POV: Okay, I have no idea why Del Rio turned babyface following a weird turn that involved 3MB on pay-per-view and was now cast as the guy who ran over Santa Claus. His character is just a mess right now. That said, the match was comically entertaining with the presents containing weapons or gags depending on which wrestler opened them. This was a holiday show with some hype given to the future Punk vs. Ryback match and some minor forwarding of Dolph Ziggler and A.J. as a couple. It was not a newsworthy show, nor should it have been considering it aired on a holiday.
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