The SmarK RAW Rant – 12.23.13 Might as well catch up a little bit, as I’ve got a weekend off with nothing going on otherwise. As opposed to the weeks these shows originally aired, when I was run ragged at work and then on Christmas vacation out of town. Taped from Austin, TX, which is much less cold and miserable than Saskatoon is at the moment. Your hosts are Michael Cole and JBL. So tonight: The Battle to CANCEL CHRISTMAS. No spoilers, please, although I’d feel bad if I celebrated it in error. Sidenote: I bought my 3 year old toddler a tablet as her big Santa gift so she’d stop using my iPad. What world are we now living in? The Authority hands out candy to open the show and let us know that they make their employees volunteer at soup kitchens in the spirit of the holiday. Don’t you mean “independent contractors” there, Hunter? Don’t want to say anything that the prosecution could use against you in a future lawsuit. They lay out the matches tonight, drawing some ELECTRIC fake heat. It’s 2014, can’t they even try to make it sound realistic? Randy Orton joins us, giving everyone the gift of himself after winning the most important match in the history of WWE and all. Well that was a totally useless segment. Speaking of useless… Six Divas v. Six Other Divas Somehow Cole mixes up Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae, and guest commentator AJ calls Aksana a “sexy Fruit Roll-Up.” That’s basically the highlights here, as Hulu continues to violate our implicit agreement to never show me these matches. Nat finishes Aksana with the Sharpshooter at 3:54. DUD AJ burying the Total Divas was the biggest thing here for me. The Wyatt Family v. Daniel Bryan & Goldust & Cody Rhodes Apparently they cut out the Batista promo. And yet they left the Divas match in?!? The babyfaces quickly work Rowan over in the corner, drawing the first legit heat of the night from Bryan’s kicks. Goldust comes in and they control Harper. Bryan hits him with kicks in the corner and follows with a sliding dropkick, and he wants Bray Wyatt as we take a break. Back with Cody getting the heat, as apparently Bryan’s desire to beat up Wyatt went unrequited. Cody is somehow bleeding from the bridge of the nose as well. He escapes a chinlock from Harper and makes the hot tag to Goldust, who slugs away in the corner. As is usually the case, however, Goldust misses a charge and assumes his rightful place as the guy getting the shit kicked out of him. Wyatt with a corner clothesline, but Goldust gets fired up before the Wyatts cut off the ring again. TEXTBOOK. Keep the crowd invested and then rip their heart out. Rowan pounds away in the corner and applies an IRON CLAW, which gets two. I’m surprised JBL didn’t orgasm right there at the table. Goldust with a flip powerbomb out of the heel corner and it’s HOT tag Bryan, as he hits Rowan with a corner dropkick and hits the kick combo to set up the flying headbutt. Sadly, he again goes after Wyatt and gets mugged on the outside as we take another break. Back with Bryan taking the shitkicking this time, as Bray slugs him down and Harper comes in with a slingshot hilo for two. Bryan finally escapes and makes the hot tag to Cody, who hits Harper with a moonsault for two. Wyatt saves as it’s BONZO GONZO, and Bryan hits Wyatt with a dive. This again leads to a mugging, leaving Harper and Cody, but Wyatt sneaks in and finishes him with Sister Abigail at 25:28. And it’s another beatdown for Bryan. Geez, I hope he doesn’t do something stupid like join the Wyatt Family because he’s so depressed over it. Just have to wait and see how it plays out, I guess! ***1/2 Meanwhile, Bad News Barrett rings bells for charity. Christmas Present On A Pole: Dolph Ziggler v. Fandango Winner of this gets a shot at the prestigious Intercontinental title next week. You have to love the character development for Ziggler, where a couple of weeks back he was supposedly rededicating himself to being a top star again and winning matches, and now he’s right back to losing to bottom guys and treading water again. Ziggler tries climbing first and gets foiled, as does Fandango. Fandango tries a powerbomb out of the corner, but Ziggler hits him with the fameasser and climbs again. Fandango sends him into the pole for a typical crazy Ziggler bump to the floor. Back to the pole again for both guys, but Fandango kicks him down and they fight on the top. And it’s ANOTHER stupid bump for Ziggler, giving Fandango the contract at 4:41. There was nothing to this other than the guys fighting to climb the pole. * THE BATTLE FOR CHRISTMAS! Mark Henry v. Damien Sandow Christmas is brought to us by Xbox One, by the way. I’d slag them for that, but I actually won one through work just before Christmas for doing their mind-numbing online training, so GO MICROSOFT! I do have the opportunity to trade it for a Surface 2, but I just got an iPad 4 and you’ll literally have to pry it out of my cold dead hands so another tablet won’t do me much good. Anyway, the dueling Santas do the usual goofy Christmas brawl with such Christmas-themed weapons as fire extinguishers (?) and a kendo stick, but luckily Good Santa saves Christmas with a World’s Strongest Slam at 3:20 to save the hopes and dreams of kids the world over. Really, the more important question is who authorized WWE to be in charge of determining the fate of Christmas in the first place? DUD Meanwhile, CM Punk has a plan for the Shield tonight, which involves teaming up with John Cena and Big E to fight them. Seems like a solid plan. BATISTA returns on January 20. So they left this one in at least. Ryback v. Kofi Kingston Ryback overpowers him to start, but stops to gloat on the floor and gets hit with a dive. Back in, Ryback clotheslines him right back to the floor again and then pounds away in the ring. Kofi comes back with kicks to put Ryback down and hits the Boomdrop, setting up a crossbody for two. Ryback drops him in the corner and finishes with the clothesline and Shellshock at 5:45. Typical filler match. ½* Bad News Barrett gives us the bad news: The money he collected was all for himself. This gimmick is death. Next week: Big Show is the New Year’s Baby on RAW. I’m constantly in amazement at the shit they’ll advertise leading up to a show and then just ignore because they forgot or changed their mind. And yet people think that the Daniel Bryan thing is somehow planned out in advance and going somewhere. The Shield v. John Cena, CM Punk & Big E Langston Rollins slugs away on Cena to start, but John quickly hits the backdrop suplex, sending Rollins running. Over to Reigns, who hits Cena with a samoan drop for two as we take a break. Back with Rollins beating on Cena and a Buff Blockbuster gets two. Ambrose drops an elbow for two, and catches Cena with a sleeper. Cena RISES ABOVE OXYGEN and tags Punk in, resulting in a dive to Ambrose on the outside and a neckbreaker back in the ring. Punk gets distracted by Rollins and hits the floor as a result, and back in Ambrose gets two. Rollins works on the back, but Punk whips him into the corner, only to have Ambrose cut off the ring again. Reigns comes in with a bearhug, which he turns into a belly to belly suplex for two. Cole can now report that Christmas WILL happen, by the way. Well, you know how plans change in WWE. Guess he wanted to make sure first. Punk puts Ambrose down with a high kick and avoids Reigns, and it’s HOT TAG Big E. Langston is a fantastic hot tag guy. He’s like Ultimate Warrior but less homophobic. E tries the Ending on a pair of Shield guys, but Rollins saves. Cena with the FU on Rollins, but Reigns spears him in a great spot, and then Big E hits the Big Ending on Ambrose, leading to a Shield beatdown for the DQ at 18:00. What a lame finish. **1/2 The Pulse Not particularly broken up about skipping this one. It was just a bunch of matches to kill three hours (or 90 minutes in this case), which was fine, but nothing that needed to be seen.