Smarked for Death – WWE Monday Night Raw 12/20/10.

Raw is live from the University of Texas and coming off of the TLC PPV.

Miz comes out to piss off the fans and show off his retained WWE championship.  CM Punk and the King are the announcers, no Cole as of yet.  Remember the days before internet when fans had to wait until Raw, or even the original Superstars show before knowing who won the title match?  Miz rubs in the fact that he’s still champion and the fans hate it.  Some sort of spooky music plays and Alex Riley comes out as the ghost of Christmas past.  If this was WCW Riley would wrestle under this gimmick for the next 2 years.   The ghost plays his spirit camera clip of Miz screwing over Lawler.  Michael Cole comes out as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Why is Riley dressed as Jacob Marley?  The writers can even get a classic story, a short classic story at that, correct.  Angry Miz Girl (well her picture at least) plays the Ghost of Christmas Future.  OK, that’s hilarious.  Miz doesn’t fear the ghost of the future, because he is the future.  Over the top, but what better way  to put over Miz?  John Morrison, the new number one contender, thankfully comes out.  Usual, “I will become champion” speech.  Morrison could have a good run as the champ.  Morrison attacks Riley and Sheamus runs out to attack Morrison.  Sheamus gets the upper hand meanwhile King punches out Riley.  To no surprise a GM Email arrives, and I quote, huge six man tag team match made for tonight.  Miz shows off the title on his way out and Orton suddenly appears and clotheslines Miz.  Long start, but worth it for what looks like an exciting main event.

WWE Divas Champion Natalya joins the announcers for the next match, which is a triple threat match to determine the new Divas Number One Contender.  Michael Cole calls Raw’s opening the Miz-mas Carol.

Melina vs. Alicia Fox vs. Eve (Torres)

Shocking that when the WWE Divas are paid more than the TNA Knockouts, only the Knockouts can afford first and last names.  Melina rolls up Eve, but Alicia kicks Melina’s face and the momentum rolls the two women up to where Eve is attempting the pin.  Nice spot.  But that’s all it is.  WWE Divas matches are becoming indie X division matches.  Planned cool spot but no match psychology.  Melina escapes a Tower of Doom attempt by ducking the diving Eve and rolling up Alicia for the pin.  Again, nice spot but it meant nothing aside from setting up the title match.  This match was not great, but I have hopes for the upcoming title match.  Natalya gets in the ring to congratulate Melina, but is greeted with a slap to the face.  Melina switches so much, and of course there’s that stunning ring entrance, that she should be marketed as having a split personality.

The Bellas latch onto Daniel Bryan again.  Didn’t realize he was hosting Raw tonight.

The announcers say Nexus isn’t expected to be here tonight.  Which means Nexus will be here tonight.  Only have to watch wrestling once before to know that.

Daniel Bryan (US champion, with the Bella Twins) vs. William Regal

Holy shit.  This could be great.  The anticipation over smart wrestling fans is so high for this match that it will last only one or two minutes under WWE logic.  Match is lasting longer than expected, and that’s a good thing.  Would be a much better thing if the announcers could call a wrestling match and not debate the merits of the Bellas.  European uppercut exchange and this may also be the stiffest match in recent WWE history.  Fantastic match that deserves some respect.  Who gives a shit about the Bellas?!  Bryan fights for the move and finally gets the Labell lock on Regal.  Regal taps and the best match of the night is unfortunately over.  The Bellas exchange lip locks with Bryan.  Anyone else wonder if this was still Attitude era would the Bellas kiss each other?

John Morrison and Randy Orton exchange words.  Orton says he cant be trusted.  Jake Roberts sits at home wishing he had a better knowledge of copyright laws.

Tamina is standing on Santino’s back, stretching it out.  Maryse comes in and also stands on Santino’s back to argue with Tamina.  A fetish is born.

Mark Henry and Gail Kim have nothing better to do tonight so why not have a random conversation.  Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero storm through for no apparent reason.

Santino (1/2 WWE Tag Team Champions) and Tamina vs. Ted DiBiase and Maryse

Tamina picks up Santino to pop his back.  Santino is just into big strong girls.  Maybe the return of Chyna is forthcoming.  In the amount of time Santino takes to set up the Cobra Ted has picked up the hot tag.  The Cobra takes more time to set up than my new shelves from Ikea.  Speaking of long set ups Tamina climbs the ropes like the fat kid in gym class.  Tamina hits a second generation Superfly Splash on Maryse for the pin.

John Cena enters the arena and rows of people give him things.  A high five, and then flowers?  WWE is also removing their Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  Cena gives the flowers away to a woman and she gives him a coffee.  If this hallway is long enough he may end up with a brand new car at the end of trading up.

John Cena comes out to the ring and the crowd reacts like The Beatles have reunited.  Even the dead ones.  Cena hugs it out with the “We Hate Cena” guy.   Way to know you’re a true wrestling fan, you mark out even when the guys you hate come out.  Cena plays highlights from last night’s pay per view.  Multiple camera angles too.  Cena calls Nexus a group of turd burglers?  Is that allowed in the family friendly WWE?  Speaking of things not allowed in family friendly arenas, Dolph and Vickie come out.  While Nexus is “done” (we’ll see) this potential match screams filler.  He’s John Cena!  How can WWE not have his next storyline ready to execute?  The WWE Universe drowns Vickie out of the building.  Even the wrestlers are barely hanging on, trying to not break character.  Maybe greatest female heel.  Vickie wants footage of Dolph’s win from last night to be played.  Instead it becomes a bash Vickie night.  Lawler and Cena trade fat jokes from the Oh Snap era of the 90s.  The insults go on too long for Vickie (agreed) and Vickie slaps Cena.  Finally a GM Email to put us out of this misery.  Dolph and Cena will have a match later.  Far far far too long a segment to set up the match.

Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental champion, with Vickie Guerrero) vs. John Cena

Never has an arena been so behind Cena, not even in his home state of Massachusetts. Punk says Cena beats people with chairs “unmercilessly”, which is not a word and is actually horrible English when the meaning of the made up word is broken apart.  But its the best wrestling word ever.  Dolph is really holding his own and this match could be a preview of his future.  He has the wrestling skills to make it to the main event level, only a question of charisma.  Ziggler might have the best dropkick in WWE today.  Straight up leap of 6 feet and full extension.  “Its been a while since its [five knuckle shuffle] has been delivered with that much enthusiasm.”  Can say the same of a young boy discovering his body.  Cena has Dolph in the STF but Vickie distracts the ref.  Thanks to the distraction Ziggler hits Cena with a Zig Zag.  Dolph only gets a two count but the move alone shows that Dolph might be ready for the next level in 2011.  Dolph misses his attempt to hit Cena with the title and instead gets caught in the Attitude Adjustment for the pin.  Cena celebrates and to the shock of all CM Punk abandons his position at the announce table and sneak attacks Cena with a chair.  Punk walks away and Cena stares at the back of the Straight Edge Superstar in anger and confusion.

With Punk’s actions and Lawler’s main event match the fans are unfortunately forced to listen to Michael Cole call the rest of the action solo.

Josh Matthews catches CM Punk on his way out of the arena.  Punk says he only did it so Cena understands what its like to be attacked with a chair.  A noble deed from Punk.

Sheamus compares crowns and reigns with Jerry Lawler.  This must be one of Shaekspeare’s lost dramas.

Dolph and Vickie plan tomorrow night’s live Smackdown main event.  The WWE USA synergy has been impressive.

Alex Riley needs to go back to Christmas Past and find the official Money in the Bank briefcase as he is currently holding a very plain steel one and not Miz’s official red one.

Miz (WWE Champion), Alex Riley and King Sheamus vs. John Morrison, Jerry Lawler and Randy Orton

Josh Matthews fills the empty spots at the announce table.  What a strange world where Cole is the color commentator and Josh is the play by play.  Poor Riley, getting the main event rub only so he can be the one who takes the pin and all the upper echelon talent stays strong.  At least, that’s the prediction.  Morrison sells his injured knee from last night’s match.  Hope for Morrison’s sake its a story injury and not a legit one on the eve of his biggest push.  Morrison gets caught on the ropes and Matthews makes the brilliant call that there was no Starship Pain and it was just the pain for Morrison.  He has come a long way since Tough Enough.  Same could be said for Morrison.  If Morrison’s knee wasn’t already injured it is now as the heel team has focused all their energy and attack on the weakened leg.  Sheamus might be the most intimidating man in WWE.  He clobbers his opponents with forearms that echo from the weight and force.  Hot tags all around and Miz is about to fall to the RKO when Alex Riley takes the bullet for his mentor.  Miz poses before hitting Skull Crushing Finale on Lawler but that’s enough time for Orton to sneak around and hit an RKO on Miz.  Lawler pins Miz!  The WWE Hall of Famer pins the WWE Champion!  Possibly the best December in Jerry Lawler’s life.

The GM announces more matches for tomorrow’s live Smackdown.  While the brand split has enabled many Superstars to rise up who may have not normally had that opportunity, the flow of each WWE show into the next is extraordinary.  If only Marvel and DC could get certain books up to this level of anticipation.

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