The SmarK RAW Rant–01.21.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 01.21.13 Live from San Jose, CA Your hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman join us to start, in a show of solidarity. They’re both upset at the DEFAMATION shown by the Rock last week, and we replay the songs just to make sure everyone understands how defamed they were. So as a result, Rock is banned from the arena, and we head to the back where indy geeks guard him from entering. Rock makes the first “imaginary girlfriend” reference of the week (because he’s actually on the cutting edge of pop culture instead of 5 years behind like Vince) and pledges to find a way into the arena. Vickie notes that he’ll be singing “Jailhouse Rock” if he tries to get in. Even Heyman is impressed with that one. This was pretty great. Beat The Clock Challenge: Antonio Cesaro v. Randy Orton So the fastest winner out of the six guys gets to choose his number in the Rumble. I always like these matches, because it gives them actual stakes and guys trying to win. Orton gets a pair of shoulderblocks for two, but Cesaro controls with a headlock and gets two. Cesaro slugs away with forearms, but Orton gets the Thesz Press for two. Cesaro with a small package for two, but Orton dropkicks him out of the ring and follows with a clothesine. Back in, that gets two. And we take a break. Back with Cesaro slugging away on top as they fight to the floor again, and Cesaro gets two. Minor interesting point: The clock jumped ahead 4 minutes, but the Score only showed 3 minutes of commercials. Of course other times we get WAY more commercials during the break, but I thought it was interesting. Cesaro with a double stomp for two and he goes to the chinlock, but Orton makes the comeback with the powerslam and draping DDT. Cesaro reverses to a jackknife for two, however, and follows with the UPPERCUT OF DOOM for two. Cesaro runs him into the post to injure the shoulder, but back in, he walks into the RKO at 11:36. I’m pretty sure Orton’s not winning this thing with that time, but this was a HELL of a match. ***1/2 Big Show v. Zack Ryder Brad Maddox joins us for commentary while Show KOs poor Zack at 0:40. Meanwhile, Maddox continues annoying Paul Heyman, who promises to make him famous. Heath Slater v. Ryback If they don’t book a spot where there’s a bunch of deadwood jobbers in the Rumble for Ryback to come in and destroy, they have no business running a wrestling company. Ryback destroys Slater and the entire band in short order and finishes with the usual at 1:16. Ryback cuts a promo promising to kill everyone in the Rumble and go to Wrestlemania. Yeah, but without a sign to point to, it means NOTHING. Meanwhile, the Rock continues his attempts to reason with the law, and discovers that one of the cops has a ticket for the show tonight and is a fan. CM Punk continues reigning as champion and will not allow the Rock to take it from him. He’s not here to tell jokes and sing songs, he’s here to hurt people. HARD SELL. That’s what’s lacking these days. Beat the Clock Challenge: Dolph Ziggler v. The Miz Miz hits a quick dropkick for two, and a rollup for two. Another pair of rollups get two, and they trade reversals for near-falls before Ziggler dropkicks him for two. Neckbreaker gets two. He goes to a chinlock for a bit, but Miz goes after the leg and tries the figure-four to annoy me. Ziggler boots him out of the ring to counter, allowing Big E to get some damage in, and we take a break. Back with four minutes left, and Miz hits a big boot for two and makes the comeback. Corner clothesline and Miz goes up with the double axehandle for two. Dolph reverses the Finale into a rollup, but Miz reverses that for two, and Dolph DDTs him for two. Miz somehow manages to f--- up a figure-four even worse than Dusty Rhodes in his prime, but Ziggler makes the ropes anyway. Miz with another rollup for two, but the Zig Zag finishes at 10:56 to put Dolph in the lead. Another great Beat the Clock match! I heard these two had a great one on Main Event, too. ***1/4 Anger Management Ceremony: Yes, the time has come for Kane and Daniel Bryan to graduate, courtesy of Dr. Shelby. This affords the opportunity to argue over stupid stuff again, but Dr. Shelby demands that everyone in the arena hug it out, which draws a “Dr. Shelby” chant from the crowd, and we get a series of hugs from the announcers, Justin Roberts, and various members of the crowd. This was of course totally pointless and ridiculous, but I laughed. Kaitlyn v. Alicia Fox Fox attacks and runs her into the turnbuckles as Tamina Snuka, daughter of Jimmy Snuka in case you weren’t aware, watches from backstage to show that we’re really down to the dregs of the division now. Fox throws Kaitlyn around by the hair and gets two, then goes to a chinlock. Kaitlyn comes back with a spear to finish at 2:05 and nearly pulls a Brooke Hogan in the process. DUD Paul Heyman has words for the Rock, in small syllables for the benefit of the stupid fans, but that only brings out the Rock (with ticket in hand). Punk is in a skybox, so Rock cuts a promo on him from afar and promises that tonight is Punk’s last night on RAW as champion. After another great promo, the lights go out and the Shield attacks. Rock takes the powerbomb and he’s coughing up blood while Punk cuts his jerkass promo in response. You have to love this. Beat the Clock Challenge: Wade Barrett v. Sheamus They trade facelocks and Sheamus gets a clothesline out of the corner, but Barrett clotheslines him out of the ring and we take a break. Back with Barrett working on the arm with four minutes left, but Sheamus comes back with axehandles and the forearms on the apron. Suplex back into the ring gets two. Wade tries the pumphandle, but Sheamus escapes, so Barrett boots him down for two. Second rope elbow gets two. Barrett tries the Wasteland, but Sheamus reverses into White Noise and sets up for the Brogue kick. This brings out Dolph and his posse to run interference, and Sheamus walks into the Bossman slam for two. Wade loads up the elbow while Sheamus loads up the boot, and they knock each other out as time expires, giving Ziggler the win. That’s the first time I can remember where you got three long matches out of this deal. Another entertaining match in a series tonight, with some real drama at the finish. *** Meanwhile, Vickie gives us the TWIST, as Dolph’s choice is either #1 or #2. Ouch. Meanwhile, Punk and Heyman meet up with Vince, and both are still denying any involvement with the Shield. So Vince threatens to strip Punk of the title if the Shield interferes, which takes away that backdoor in theory. Alberto Del Rio v. Tensai Tensai attacks and pounds the shoulder in the corner, then hits a pair of pump splashes for two. Del Rio comes back with a rana and a sick german suplex, then gets the crowd to chant “Si” before hitting the enzuigiri and a moonsault for the pin at 1:27. I’m kind of digging babyface Del Rio. Bob Backlund is your next Hall of Fame inductee. That’s long overdue. Main Event Interview: John Cena is out to telegraph winning the Rumble and nearly kills my enjoyment of a great show thus far by rambling about f------ NOTHING for about five minutes. I mean, he’s talking about playing video games and getting drunk on Saturday night or something. This brings out a bunch of guys who also want to win the Rumble, triggering the requisite brawl to end the show. The Pulse Well the final segment was a massive failure, but the rest was probably the best of the three-hour era I’ve seen. Three great TV matches, the Rock and Punk in old-school SELLING THE SHOW mode, what more do you want?