The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant – 01.23.12 Live from Phoenix, AZ. Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry LawlerCM Punk starts us out with another tirade against Big Johnny. The word of the week: Failure. John sucks at life and his career and everything else. He also notes that it’s incredibly hard to referee a match with two broken arms, so he presumes that John will call things down the middle in his match. Man, Punk is really turning into a bully here. John Cena comes out instead of Big Johnny, and he’s sick of hearing Punk ramble, and wants to show him how it’s done. So tonight, apparently the GM will give Zack Ryder his US title rematch TONIGHT, as well as Kane v. Cena match TONIGHT, plus he’ll resign as GM on top of all that. OR ELSE. Yeah, that never works. So the Interim GM joins us, and will not be intimidated by either guy. Punk trying to goad him into the ring is pretty funny. Big Johnny decides to punish Cena further by booking Ryder v. Kane in a falls count anywhere match, and if Cena gets involved then Zack never gets another US title shot again. Maybe Ryder should just cut his losses and move to Smackdown. Finally, it’s Punk & Cena v. Ziggler & Swagger…NEXT. So I’m guessing that means that Johnny Ace isn’t resigning. CM Punk & John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger Cena beats on Ziggler and gets the bulldog for two, and brings in Punk for a GTS attempt that Ziggler bails out of. And we take a break. Back with Ace TEXTING while Ziggler beats on Cena and poses. Over to Swagger, and Cena hits him with a fisherman’s suplex, but walks into a clothesline. Swagger goes with the facelock, and back to Ziggler with the dropkick for two. Dolph drops a zillion elbows and does some situps for two. Swagger with the pump splash for two and a bearhug, but Cena reverses into the FU. Hot tag Punk and he runs wild on Ziggler with the high knee into the bulldog, and the high kick for two. I love Ziggler’s Mr. Perfect-style selling of that stuff. Cena brawls with Swagger outside and Punk goes up, but now Big Johnny jumps on the apron and Ziggler gets the cheap rollup at 10:00 for yet another fake “win” on Punk. This was fine if pointless. **1/2 See, I’m enjoying Johnny Ace in this role, but the more he plays the standard heel GM the less effective he becomes. He’s much better as the dispassionate middle management weenie. Punk, not particularly dismayed by the loss, challenges Ace to a match TONIGHT. And it’s on, apparently. Chris Jericho returns to hosting the Highlight Reel. Let’s see if fans actually catch on this week. Stalling device of the week: A t-shirt gun, which the idiot fans STILL pop for. And then he steals the camera and films the fans, who are still cheering. Then we get an actual highlight reel of Jericho’s career (pretty good one too)…and he finally speaks. And he promises that at Royal Rumble, it’s the end of the world. Again. For those who haven’t been following the discussion on my blog, the current popular theory is that Jericho gets #30, only to see the last two guys left eliminate each other so that he wins by default. Royal Rumble “by the numbers” promo. What exactly does “every WWE superstar is eligible” mean, anyway? Meanwhile, Mick Foley gives Zack some advice for his match against Kane. Cena offers assistance, but Ryder wants to do it alone. Good, be a man about it for once. Kane v. Zack Ryder Zack attacks and gets nowhere, as Kane boots him off the apron and punts him in the ribs. They seem to have trouble telling if it’s the ribs or back that’s injured. Ryder says the back, but Cole says the ribs. I guess it’s the torso in general that’s injured. Kane throws him into the stairs and stomps away on the ribs as Eve joins us, and we take a break. Back with Kane continuing the beating while Zack bumps around like a job guy, and a shot to the post gets two. Out into the crowd, and Zack finally fights back with a suitcase before getting punked out again. Over to the ramp and Zack gets beat up some more as Kane gets two. Ryder fights back a bit and Kane no-sells it, then chokeslams him through the stage as that’s apparently just going to be the end of the match at 10:00 or so. And Kane just leaves as John Cena comes out to tend to Ryder. Another week, another stretcher ride for Zack Ryder. But they’re totally not burying him. Next week he’ll get attacked and beheaded on live TV by Kane in the hospital and people will be like “Oh, they’re just setting him up for his big comeback, let it play out first!” Back from the break and we’re STILL taking Zack out of the broken stage with the obvious breakaway piece and crash pad as this show has ground to a screeching halt. Zack goes out on the ambulance and Cena puts his SERIOUS FACE on as Eve chastises him for screwing up Ryder’s life enough. I’m pretty sure it’s the writers at this point she should be blaming. Cena is HULKING OUT with RAGE. I think that kind of went over the edge and became hilariously awesome. Remember when heels used to beat up the guys they were fighting to get heat? This was like Hulk Hogan beating up Lanny Poffo on SNME. And even Lanny got to win by countout there! Ryder didn’t even get to have Kane sell a PUNCH! Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal This again? Sheamus pounds on him and gets two while Wade Barrett joins us on commentary. Sheamus goes up and gets slammed off, and Jinder follows with a high knee for two. Jinder with the dreaded cobra sleeper of his homeland, but Sheamus fights out and finishes with the Brogue Kick at 3:00. I think Sheamus has won this feud pretty decisively. Minor annoyance from Cole, as he notes a few times that the winner of the Rumble gets to main event Wrestlemania. When was the last time that even HAPPENED? Hell, Del Rio wrestled in the opening match last year! Randy Orton got the main event against HHH in 2009, but that’s a rarity in the past decade. Meanwhile, The Miz’s interview is interrupted by master of disguise R-Truth, who plays a marketing guy (“My name is FLEISCHER!”) who accuses Miz of being boring. Their argument is interrupted by Big Johnny, who is so annoyed by them that he gives the loser of their match the #1 slot in the Rumble. Brodus Clay v. Heath Slater Clay’s new T-Rex dance move is tremendous. Slater gets a dropkick to no effect, and Clay gives him the Sheeyah Suplex and finishes with the crossbody at 0:48. It’s now called “What the Funk” according to Michael Cole as they continue to tweak this. Crowd was pretty quiet for this, actually, but William Regal was something else on commentary. Why they don’t just let him be a commentator all the time is beyond me. The Miz v. R-Truth They brawl out of the ring and Truth sends Miz back in, but Miz catches him and stomps him down. Suplex onto the top rope and he puts Truth on the floor again with a shoulderblock, and we take a break. REALLY? Do we need a commercial break in every damn match? Back with Miz holding an abdominal stretch, but Truth comes back with a rollup for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Axe kick misses, but Truth gets a backslide for two. Miz comes back with his double neckbreaker for two, as Cole sums up the feud: “This rivalry has been going on and on and on…” Agreed. Miz with the DDT for two. Truth hits the Downward Spiral to finish at 6:00, which gives the Miz #1 on Sunday. Cole keeps noting that only 2 men have ever won the Rumble from that position. Yeah, what’s their names? Meanwhile, we learn that Zack Ryder has a broken back. A BROKEN BACK! What more can they DO to this poor guy? Is Eve gonna leave him for John Cena next? Are they going to book his dog to die? Burn down his fake house? Put his dad in a limo and blow it up? And Big Johnny gets an upsetting fax from David Otunga. Who even uses a fax machine for sending messages anymore? The Amish? CM Punk v. The Executive Vice President In Charge of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager Amazingly, this advertised match does not actually occur. Holy shit, when does that ever happen? Otunga reads the fax before we start, as the Bored of Directors has decided that Ace will get his job review next Monday, to be conducted by COOHHH. So suddenly he’s apologetic to Punk and Foley and everyone else, but then Otunga attacks Punk after a verbal confrontation. Otunga quickly taps to the Anaconda Vice, and Punk hits Ace with the GTS before Ziggler pops in and hits the Zig Zag to end the show. So…why do I want to see the title match at the PPV now? Ziggler has zero chance and no one buys him as a serious threat for a second, and Punk has already gotten his revenge on Ace and Otunga in the same segment. The Pulse The Rumble remains kind of intriguing because it’s the Rumble and my second favourite PPV of the year traditionally, but this show was just hilariously bad. Whatever Zack Ryder did to piss off Vince McMahon and the writing team, I’m sure he’s very sorry for it now and won’t do it again.