Smarked for Death – WWE Monday Night Raw 1/24/11.

And we’re back.  After taking a brief hiatus due to winter stresses the Smarked for Death column is back.  With only one week left until the Royal Rumble, how will tonight’s episode make this pay per view look like a must buy?

Only Triple H can be out of in ring action for almost a year and still be featured prominently in the opening video.

The heavily rumored to retire next year Superstar, Edge enters hostile Raw territory tonight.  Edge says he’s tired of waiting, waiting for divorces to be finalized, waiting for WWE to no longer be rated  PG, or waiting for tonight’s match.  The GM computer remembers when Edge smacked it around and so a mini Royal Rumble is booked.  Whoever can throw Edge out  will earn spot #40.  Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre and Tyson Kidd run to the ring and assault Edge.  Kidd and Swagger are eliminated easily.  Drew takes a little longer but in the end Edge makes three wrestlers who should be getting a bigger push look like fools.   Edge wins, but does this mean he gets the 40th spot?   The world champion asks if anyone wants to see a smashed laptop.  That may be the dumbest reason to gather thousands of people under one roof.  Nexus comes out before any electronic battery can take place.  CM Punk begins to speak and it looks like Edge has left ringside after his pointless warm up battle royale.  Punk officially introduces Mason Ryan, the Batista clone.  He talks like he’s from Wales and is as big as one.  If I were Otunga, McGillicutty, Harris or Ryan I know that there’s nothing that would make me feel more accomplished than helping someone else win the Rumble.  The Core comes out with their extra R.  Holy shit, Mason makes Ezekiel look small.  There’s a printing press for money located on Ryan’s back.  This war is too similar to the nWo splits.  Faction war tonight with the losing group out of the Royal Rumble.  If this actually goes through, that frees up a lot of slots in this already loaded match.

John Morrison and Mark Henry vs. King Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio.

Well at least Del Rio isn’t facing Truth tonight.  Average match, neither random team really clicking all that well.  Then for no reason Michael Tarver, formerly of Nexus, appears on screen.  He’s watching the match.  No, no not at home while hoping for a call back to work some indy show this weekend.  He’s in the  locker room intensely viewing this tag match.  Everyone hits finishing moves and Morrison may have injured his knee.   Which is probably destined to happen before his next push.  Del Rio flips over Henry with the set up for his arm breaker and Mark taps out.  Alberto has heat and most importantly, a devastating finisher that can be locked onto anyone.  Only he can stop his inevitable world title run.  Don’t fuck up Al.

Melina vs. Natalya (Divas champion)

The match that was expected to get added to the Rumble takes place tonight, which means someone is getting less TV time real  soon.  Actually a very competitive match.  Natalya is stronger, but Melina has always wrestled better as a heel.  Natalya locks on something that can no longer be called a Sharpshooter.  Maybe a Breaker Shooter, as Melina’s back was bent in half.  Natalya wins and begins to celebrate when the concubines come out.  LayCool announces a Divas title match at the PPV.  Expect Undertaker to return now that his wife has a title match on the show.  Oh, LayCool also calls Natalya, “fatty”.  Its always good to come out of school and right into a job in your chosen profession, and someone in WWE got a writing job straight out of the 5th grade.

The backstage segment portion of the show begins.  Punk gives a pep talk to Nexus and Cena reminds us that WWE is written for children.

The Miz (WWE Champion, with Alex Riley) vs. Edge (World Champion)

Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero join for commentary.  King, who thinks its disgusting when LayCool makes fat jokes about their opponent, makes fat jokes about Vickie.  He also jokes about Vickie dating younger men.  Consistency thy name is Lawler.  Its  a shame that everyone on a headset is trying to get themselves over as there’s a great match going on in the ring.  Ziggler grabs Edge’s leg and the match ends with a DQ.  Maybe the best way to do this, so both champions look strong.

More backstage talk.  Ezekiel would benefit greatly if he could have Teddy Long as his manager.

The Bella Twins and Daniel Bryan (US Champion) vs. Maryse, Alicia Fox and Ted DiBiase

WWE is trying to do a seductress story while staying within their PG confines.  This leads to some pathetic acting by the Bella Twins and Maryse rolls up one of them for the pin.  Well that wasn’t worth the time to watch it.  The Bellas continue to argue backstage, where the ghost of Michael Tarver lurks.  Bellas walk in on Bryan fooling around with Gail Kim.  Turns out he’s been with Gail for 6 months.  Gail and Bryan felt bad for the Bellas because without any guest stars they have nothing to do.  Brilliant!  Call them whores too Gail!  Cant wait for Gail to school the twins.

Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov (WWE Tag Team Champions, with Tamina) vs. Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty

Tonight doesn’t feel like the night, but these two Nexus members are the next tag team champions.  Just wish they would change their names to acknowledge family lineage.  Harris hits a nasty neckbreaker on Santino for the pin in this non title match.  Totally expecting to have a Nexus tag title run under Freebird rules.

CM Punk (with Nexus) vs. Wade Barrett (with Corre).  John Cena is the special referee and the losing man will have his team thrown out of the Royal Rumble.

Cena’s first act is to ban both teams from ringside.  No, that would make sense.  Nexus is tossed from the ring, the Corre remains.  No, no there goes the Corre.  I’ve just watched ten minutes of guys walking down and then back up the entrance ramp.  Cena smacks the two combatants around a little, because they cant lay hands on a referee.  Nice touch.  If either leader (“the Corre is not about an individual” yeah, shut up) hits Cena then they would be disqualified and lose their Rumble spot.  Excellent writing.  Cena disqualifies both men for “excessive profanity” and both teams are eliminated from the Royal Rumble.  Honestly, brilliant booking.  Oh but then the deus ex machina sends an email.  The GM puts everyone back into the Rumble.  GM orders Cena to apologize to Wade and Punk or else Cena is out of the match.  Cena does as he’s told and then starts throwing fists.  Both teams come down to protect their paychecks and Cena is a man without a country.  Big Show leads the calvary down to save Cena.  its a Royal Rumble preview as Superstars from both shows and both heel teams battle it out.

Nice ending and the Royal Rumble is definitely a must see show this year.

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