The SmarK RAW Rant – 01.14.13 A montage of RAW openings leading up to today, as apparently it’s time for yet another milestone episode. They’re getting into Krusty the Clown territory at this point. Live from Houston, TX Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler Vince McMahon starts us out, bragging that they’ve had over 4 billion viewers in the 20 years since the debut of the show. They would have had 5 billion, but football was on. Also, announcing Cena v. Ziggler in a cage tonight, but Big Show interrupts him to complain about getting robbed of the World title. Del Rio is happy to give him a rematch (complete with new babyface tights), but Show is wearing his customized suit and couldn’t possibly. However, they can do it at Royal Rumble instead. Show constantly going to Vince for support is pretty funny. Ricardo tosses a bucket of confetti at Show as a present, and Del Rio reverses a powerbomb into a rana to chase him off. Del Rio is surprisingly effective as a plucky babyface. Wade Barrett v. Randy Orton They brawl to the floor and Orton runs him into the railing and back in for two. We take a break with nothing happening, and return with Barrett in control and still nothing happening. Barrett with a chinlock (not so fun when it happens to YOU, huh Randy?) and he boots Orton down for two. Back to the chinlock, but Orton is CREATING SEPARATION and makes the comeback. Powerslam and backbreaker, but Barrett runs away, shockingly right into the draping DDT. That move is so ridiculously contrived these days. Orton does his little dance, but Barrett cuts him off and runs him into the post. Bullhammer elbow finishes clean at 11:17. I’d say Orton’s mistake was writhing around like a spaz before trying his finisher. Have these guys ever not had a boring match? ** Meanwhile, Eve learns from Booker T that the title will change hands on a DQ or countout tonight. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan and Kane attend their anger management and share what they like about each other. (“I like that he can set things on fire by lowering his arms.”) Dr. Shelby brings in the Rhodes Scholars to test them, but Damien Sandow brings the AWESOME by completely shooting down Shelby’s pseudo-psychology, until Shelby orders the champs to attack. Sandow is just great. Damian Sandow v. Kane Sandow runs away, but gets a cheapshot and the ELBOW OF DISDAIN for two. Kane quickly squashes him with the chokeslam at 2:00. DUD Mick Foley joins us as the first member of the Hall of Fame for 2013, but the Shield cuts him off before he can give his speech. Ryback cuts THEM off before they can attack, and then Randy Orton and Sheamus also make the save, chasing them off. And then they replay THE ENTIRE THING seconds later, in case we weren’t watching 10 seconds previously. And then Josh Matthews interviews Ryback, who is still upset at the Shield, obviously. We get a quick compilation of silly gimmicks over the years, which is all the same stuff they’ve mocked before. Divas title: Eve Torres v. Kaitlyn OK, Eve is LEAVING THE COMPANY and the DQ rule is waived here, so hopefully they finally change this f------ title and move onto something else with whatever’s left of the Divas division. Eve controls with the choking in the corner and a headscissors on the mat, but Kaitlyn comes back with the RATINGS DROP for two. Eve comes back with her neckbreaker, but only gets two. Considering that Houston is apparently Kaitlyn’s hometown, I almost thought they’d have Eve retain there just to f--- with everyone. Kaitlyn comes back with a gutbuster and Eve bails to escape, but she misses Kaitlyn running back in with a spear to FINALLY win that stupid belt at 5:31. Wow, what a special night for all concerned, blah blah blah, maybe she can get a proper dye job now with the money she’ll make as champion. ** CM Punk v. Brodus Clay So yeah, CM Punk is still getting giant babyface reactions no matter how awesome of a heel he is. Punk backs off for some advice from Heyman. That advice: “If a cable network says they’re more than happy to have both your promotion and the competition at the same time, you should probably start exploring other options.” Clay tries to overpower Punk, but a neckbreaker turns the tide as the fans hate him so much that they loudly chant his name during his heel heat segment. Punk finishes clean with the flying elbow and Anaconda Vice at 3:42. That is like the first clean win I’ve seen Punk get over someone in MONTHS. *1/2 Meanwhile, Mick Foley meets up with the Rock, but they’re too loud for Vickie Guerrero, who chews them out and foreshadows comeuppance from the Rock later. Sheamus v. The 3 Man Band, Baby This is an over the top challenge, by which I mean it’s a battle royale style handicap match and not that it’s carried out with the usual flair that 3MB brings. They beat down Sheamus before 2 of them get tossed, but regroup and pull Sheamus out to give Heath Slater the unexpected win at 3:30. OH MY GOD, I’M CHANGING MY OFFICIAL ROYAL RUMBLE PREDICTION TO HEATH SLATER! And what happened to the Sheamus-Orton feud? Are they dropping that already? Meanwhile, John Cena does a completely obnoxious backstage interview, babbling about the past of the show and making no sense. MizTV with Ric Flair, which gives us a chance for more RAW clips for some reason. Antonio Cesaro interrupts to continue setting up the red-hot feud with the Miz, and of course he gets laid out and figure-foured, as I hope to god they don’t waste Flair in trying to give the rub to Miz. That s---’s not gonna fly. Cody Rhodes v. Daniel Bryan Cody works on the bad knee from last week, but stops to gloat and gets pulled into the Yes/No/Lebell Lock at 1:10. Meanwhile, Eve quits the company. On the WWE app. Yeah, I’m pretty over this show. Cage match: John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler Ziggler gets the dropkick for two and a pair of neckbreakers, then counters an FU attempt with a jawbreaker for two. Cena makes the first escape attempt and Dolph climbs to stop him, but Cena drops him on the top rope as we take a break. Back with a slugfest on top of the cage, but Cena goes down before making a comeback. He goes for the five knuckle shuffle, but Ziggler counters with the superkick for two and then crawls for the door as well, which Cena counters by pulling Ziggler into the STF. Ziggler quickly counters into the sleeper, but Cena climbs the cage with Ziggler on his back and then drops down to break. Cena goes for the door now, but Big E slams on his head and Ziggler gets two. Cena climbs again and slams the door on Ziggler’s head, but Big E chases Cena back in with a chair. That leads to a Zig Zag for two. Ziggler climbs again, but Cena keeps popping up and Ziggler goes down again, but recovers with a DDT off the middle rope for two. AJ freaks out at ringside and tries to climb into the ring, but Ziggler screws up the distraction and hits Big E with the briefcase by mistake, allowing Cena to finish with the FU at 16:00. Another great match from these two, another dominant win by Cena. I don’t even get what they’re building to with this one-sided feud, as Ziggler has all the advantages and loses every match. ***3/4 Rock Concert! The opening song about Paul Heyman’s small penis was a bit of a miss, but Rock singing “Horrible Tonight” to Vickie draws me back in (“You dress like a hooker…and not the expensive kind.”). But then he switches to SERIOUS ROCK and calls out CM Punk. Because he can do that sort of thing, being that he’s the Rock and all. He asserts that Paul Heyman has “twinkie tits” and that he’s gonna win the WWE title at Royal Rumble in THIRTEEN DAYS (that’s called “selling a PPV”, TNA), which draws Punk down for a good old fashioned pull apart brawl to close the show. This also gives us our returning star quota, with Arn Anderson, Jamie Noble and Fit Finlay breaking things up. The Pulse As a 20th Anniversary Spectacular it was nothing, but as a standard RAW it was pretty good. The first hour flew by, the second hour dragged something awful as usual, and the last hour had a great match and The Rock, so it’s a thumbs up here.