The Smarked for Death Wrestling Review of the 20th Anniversary of WWE Monday Night Raw 1/14/13.

(Once again Solace Winter provides me with match times so we can take a second look at the matches.)

TeamYes

 

Even Team Hell No is excited for this week’s edition of Smarked for Death!

Well things are already starting off pretty awesome with the classic Raw opening videos.  Its time for Smarked for Death and time for the 20th anniversary of Monday Night Raw.

I know that I usually write a cute little opening but I am suddenly feeling all sorts of nostalgic and happy to be a wrestling fan after watching that montage of opening videos.

Raw starts as such a huge episode should, with Mr McMahon.  He reminds us that we have seen lots of entertainment on Raw.  Lots of sports entertainment Vince?  4 billion people have watched Raw over 20 years.  I count for hundreds if not thousands of those times to be sure.  Big steel cage match tonight, the Rock will sing.  Obviously I’m watching this long after the episode has aired (alright, 12 hours later) and the IWC was shitting on this.  I have to say though that so far I’m feeling excited and happy to be watching.

The Big Show comes out, speaking of people who are not happy nor excited.  He is however, proud of his recent weight loss.  I still love humorous Big Show.  Oh but don’t-call-me-Vince flips the script and makes fun of him for losing the title.  I really need to watch that.  Big Show wants his title back and really does a good job of getting over Alberto Del Rio.  Flat out asking McMahon if he is trying to create a hero for Latinos.  Um, yes.  Rey Mysterio is near the end of his career.  Sin Cara has not caught on.  The music hits and Del Rio gets a massive pop.  That was unexpected.  Del Rio doesn’t drive a car out, he just walks right up to Big Show and lays down the challenge.  If WWE is going to push Del Rio as the top face what better way than to get him over in Houston?  Hell, any border state.

“What does the letter C have to do with anything?”  Oh Big Show that was an easy and dumb joke but I laughed.

Ricardo Rodriguez tosses confetti on Big Show.  That makes two Monday night shows with confetti jokes last night.  (I already watched How I Met Your Mother with the wife.)  Big Show tries to fight but Del Rio, with an assist to Ricardo, was just too quick for him.  I feel this isn’t the last we’ll see of these two tonight.

JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are your announce team for this evening.

Raw highlights will be shown throughout the evening.  Bob Barker, celebrity guest host, is shown and as much as we all hated the whole guest host thing while it was taking place it is rather funny in hindsight.

Wade Barrett (Intercontinental champion) vs. Randy Orton.

Damn.  Well that is an unexpected pairing.  I really have no idea who gets the win.  Wade needs to look like a strong champion, but Randy needs, well, something.

Wade looks much better in this match than Orton.  Not to say that Randy is a slouch, or anything against Barrett, but the Intercontinental champion is most definitely being groomed for the main event slot.

I’m seeing Wade wrestle a match but Randy is only doing “Vintage Orton” moves.  Has Randy ever had a 5 star or MOTY contender?  Wade comes back from the vintage moves and shoves Randy into the ring post.  He has had numerous shoulder problems.  If you don’t remember, go back and watch the classic RNN skits.  Wade primes the bull hammer and… holy crap Randy didn’t kick out.  Wade just pinned the multiple time former champion.  Clean pin at that.  Wade is now at the top of my Money in the Bank winner list for 2013.

Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton – 6:55

Nearly 7 minutes to knock off a multi-time former World champion?  Randy’s star is fading and I’d love to know why.  Is he injured?  Has he pissed someone off?  Is he ready to move on to something else in life?  Either way I would not bet anything on Randy for a long time.

Booker T tells Eve that the Divas title can change tonight no matter how the match is won.  You know, like count outs and the like.  Teddy Long just stands there.  Eve tries to hit on Booker to get out of the match.  Hmmm, so the title can change via count out or DQ and rumors are that Eve is on her way out.  I’m thinking that Eve is going to leave but for some reason doesn’t want to get pinned by Kaitlyn.

Footage from “earlier today” when Kane and Daniel Bryan meet with Dr. Shelby.  Bryan’s beard becomes more and more epic with every week.  Daniel suggests that he and Kane lie to the good doctor and pretend to be well adjusted individuals.  Its cute and funny, but not yet at the level of previous segments.  Kane and Bryan keep it together until Shelby brings in Team Rhodes Scholars to piss off Team Hell No.  Cody and Damien are going to antagonize the tag team champions to see if they can find their happy places.  Rhodes and Sandow question everything about Dr Shelby and I think we know who will actually get angry tonight.  The line is drawn when the Rhodes Scholars compare Shelby to Dr Phil. Our friendly Doctor sics his tag team champion dogs on the heels.  Three way yes chant to end this segment on a high and funny note.

Kane (with Daniel Bryan, WWE Tag Team Champions) vs. Damien Sandow (with Cody Rhodes).

This match is over before anyone can finish a thought, much less break a sweat.  Couple quick moves and Kane catches Damien for a choke slam.  There’s the pin and that’s all.  If their partners wrestle tonight I would fully expect Cody to win.

Kane vs. Damien Sandow – 1:58

I’m honestly shocked it lasted this long.  A flaw I blame squarely on Kane just being a bigger guy and thus moving slower than his lighter partner.  We’ll get to that match later.

The first inductee into the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class is announced.  Things leak way too fast in this day and age, because before anything is said or any music is played the fans start to chant Foley Foley.  Yes its true Mrs Foley’s baby boy is now a WWE Hall of Famer.

Mick Foley doesn’t get a chance to say anything before the Shield comes through the crowd.  Crazy to hear the crowd pop for the Shield’s music too.  Before they can attack Foley, Ryback comes out for the save.  But the three on one proves to be too much.  Randy Orton comes out to try to even the odds.  Its still too much and Randy is taken down too.  One more?  Sheamus comes down and its now 3 on 3.

Does anyone have better expressions and body language than Dean Ambrose?

Hey, Sign Guy Rick is in the front row!  It truly is a Raw anniversary.

RybackWide

Ryback wants to be fed Shield.  This will be an interesting Royal Rumble.

Raw Anniversary video of some of the craziest characters in Raw history.  Mock some of them all you want, but a lot of these guys were over.  Goldust was over.

Eve Torres (Divas champion) vs. Kaitlyn.

If Eve loses by DQ or count out she will also lose the title.  Kaitlyn is from Houston, they’re in Houston tonight.  Everything is adding up.

Eve has held the title since September?  I think in every match and feud since then I’ve expected her to lose that belt.  Kaitlyn is playing the aggressor and Eve just waits for that mistake.  The challenger stops thinking for a moment and just grabs at Eve giving the champion all the opportunity she needs.  Eve kicks Kaitlyn in the head and doesn’t give her opponent the opportunity to come back.  Eve locks on submission moves but she’s never once gotten a win with these moves so the crowd waits for Kaitlyn to get to the ropes.  There she goes.  Kaitlyn hits some clobbering clotheslines and Eve is loopy.  One driver later and the crowd thinks there’s going to be a new champion but no.  Eve hits a finisher and the crowd is audibly disappointed until Kaitlyn kicks out.  Both women are frustrated and the fight goes to the outside.  Where a title change can take place.

Back in the ring and Eve doesn’t realize Kaitlyn also made it back in.  Kaitlyn hits a spear, and its a damn good one.  1, 2 and a clean pin for a new Divas champion!  From NXT to winning this title from an outgoing popular (well within WWE) champion and in her hometown.  This is one of the biggest Divas wins in quite some time.  Hopefully she continues to look powerful and is booked well as a champion.

Kaitlyn vs. Eve – 5:26

This seems like the longest Divas match in quite some time.  If someone else wants to look that up for me.  A much needed amount of time to get over the new champion.  And, even though I’m not a fan of hers, Eve does deserve some time out there in her last match.  She did work and did try hard.  However, yet again another model turned Diva doesn’t have her heart is staying around.

Josh Matthews interviews Brodus Clay about Punk’s remarks from last week.  Brodus is angry and hopefully we’re going to see a monster in the ring tonight.

Raw highlight of Donald Trump and Mr McMahon.

“If Disco Inferno and Aretha Franklin had a kid”.  Then this is followed up by a Max Moon reference!  I really do love it when they reward us marks with these mentions of past talent.

Brodus Clay (with the Funkadactlys) vs. CM Punk (WWE Champion, with Paul Heyman).

Punk does a damn good job of making Brodus look like a monster.  Big, powerful, and best/worst of all inexperienced.  Its like the sword fighter (swordsman?) who fears the untrained opponent.  A fighter can expect the moves of another fighter, it is the lack of finesse  from the novice that is frightening.  But Punk is just too damn good.  Some would say best in the world.  He may not pick up Brodus for the GTS (and after knee surgery probably shouldn’t try) but that Anaconda Vice can take out anyone.   And it does.

Brodus Clay vs. CM Punk – 3:42

Speaking of people’s long matches Brodus is usually in and out of the ring faster than this.  Good match for what it was, and just slightly too long.  Punk is the over 400 days and running champion.  Brodus is a gimmick act right now.  The champion shouldn’t have any trouble beating him.

PunkPaulPromo

CM Punk cuts a promo against the Rock.  I really cant wait for this match.

Raw Anniversary video of the best vehicular moments of the past 20 years.

Backstage, Mick Foley is on the phone with his kids saying he was not scared of the Shield.  The Rock shows up to congratulate his former partner.  Now this is the Rock stuff that we remember and love.  Legendary wrestlers just having fun.  Vickie Guerrero interrupts the Rock n Sock Connection and I think I could honestly watch hours of Rock and Vickie banter.

Sheamus vs. 3MB in an over the top rope challenge.

JBL points out that 3MB has a 10% chance of winning the Rumble.  That is hysterical and absolutely true.  This is really just a glorified squash match.  Sure 3MB get a little offense in, but not much.  Jinder is out first.  Then Drew.  Then here comes the Brogue Kick… and Heath ducks!  Sheamus is on the ring apron and pulls Heath over.  Drew and Jinder attack from the outside.  Sheamus falls off the aprton!  Holy crap Heath Slater has won this!  What a surprise.  Sheamus comes back to serve up Brogue Kicks and look strong.  That was a fun segment that got over everyone.  Well done.

3MB vs. Sheamus – 3:15

I’m not sure how to evaluate the match time for such a bout.  It would be like saying the Rumble lasted 61 minutes when it should have been 62.  Everything that was needed to get over in this match got over.  Also, if 3MB can stick around 3 minutes for everything they do that would just add a fun extra bit to it all.

Josh Matthews interviews John Cena.  Braden Walker reference!

The Miz teases Ric Flair for later tonight.

AntonioFlag

Miz TV with Ric Flair.  Some Flair butt kissing.  A Woo off.  Then we go to the best catch phrases of 20 years of Raw.  Seems a waste of flying Ric Flair in.  Miz tries to get Ric to cut a classic Flair promo, but they are interrupted.  Antonio Cesaro comes down for his heelest of heel promos yet.  I think the line of the IV Horsemen now standing for his four ex wives was the best.

Daniel Bryan (with Kane) vs. Cody Rhodes (with Damien Sandow).

Alright, I predicted this match was coming and I also predicted that Cody would get the win to balance this out.  And in the time it took me to type that Bryan got the win.  Well I am incredibly wrong.  Two very quick matches that don’t look good for the future of Team Rhodes Scholars.

Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes – 1:17

There you go, that’s how short the match should be.  Well, to balance with the Kane and Damien match.  Really though, Team Rhodes Scholars deserved better and a squash like this makes me question their chances at the Royal Rumble.  Hopefully they get back some steam next week.

Eve Torres has quit WWE during the Raw Active segment.  As we all saw coming.

DuelingDuckFaces

AJ and Big E talk about relationships and then show off some of the classic weddings in Raw history.  Big E nearly sheds a tear.  Keep it under control big guy!  AJ starts crying over her own failed wedding and this turns into an anti John Cena promo.  Oh hello Dolph.  Hope you win tonight.

AJBigEDuel

Jim Ross comes out for the main event.

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler (with AJ and Big E Langston).

There is just something missing in cage matches lately.  Really its the PG.  No blood and certain things that cant be done hurt the whole point of steel cage matches.

Usual escape the cage spots to start.  The match really gets going when Dolph tries to crawl out the door.  Big E and Cena have a tug of war for him and I cant imagine the pain that Dolph must be under.  Its probably like he’s on the rack.  Cena locks on an STF but Dolph reverses it into a sleeper.  John tries to climb the cage but the sleeper is still locked in and John collapses to the mat.  Both men are down.

Ziggler climbs the wall while Cena goes for the door.  Dolph sees Cena escaping before he can and drops down to pull his opponent back.  Its getting heated.  Cena tries to walk out but Big E slams the cage door on his head.  Cena is down, but only for a two count from the weakened Dolph.

Ziggler opens the door and Cena climbs the cage next to it.  Its a race!  John goes over first and kicks the door into Ziggler’s head.  Cena tries to climb down but there’s Big E with a chair and there is still no way out for John.  Cena climbs back and is met with a Zig Zag but only for the two.  Dolph climbs up again but Cena catches him.

Once this match opened up it has been non stop.  Dolph with a huge DDT and its still only a two count.

AJ starts to flip out and sees nothing else to do but to climb in.  The announcers are stunned.  Haven’t there been Divas cage matches?  The ending becomes a clusterfuck involving everyone plus the briefcase.  And Super Cena wins.  Really shit ending for what was a great match.

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler – 13:17

Excellent match, except for that final 17 seconds in which Cena wins.  Both men worked their asses off but for what?  If the hero wins all the time than there is no drama.  Hopefully one day, one day soon, WWE will realize that.

The Rock Concert begins.  I get really tired of the Rock taking up so much time on Raw for the same ole’ shit.  If anything of note happens I’ll cover.

Rock says lots of horseshit.  CM Punk finally comes down and they have a pull apart brawl.  Not too bad, but the backbone of this angle is going to be dueling promos.  They need to be face to face next week.

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