Are you ready for the TLC fallout? Then stop questioning your heart and join me, because it’s time for Monday Night RAW!!!
CM Punk’s music hits, and the WWE Champion makes his way down to the ring. He proclaims himself as the winner of the TLC PPV match, and STILL WWE Champion! The crowd lauds his success. Punk asks the crowd if they know the winner of the US Championship match. A graphic of Dolph Ziggler’s face appears on the screen. Punk asks if he was him… or Zack Ryder? “Oh Radio…!” Zack Ryder makes his way down to the ring. Punk then asks the crowd if they know who won the TLC Chairs match for the World Title. Was it Big Show or Mark Henry? Well, it may have been Big Show, but the man to walk out with the Title was… Daniel Bryan!
The former Ring of Honor star makes his triumphant return to the city where he has had so many of his legendary matches, Philadelphia, and heads down to the ring. Punk says that it is so appropriate that Bryan and he are Champions in Philadelphia at the same time. It’s the place where they first met ten years ago down the street at Murphy’s Rec Center. That isn’t to take anything away from Zack Ryder, which the crowd responds to with a few Woos.
Punk says that tonight isn’t about himself; it’s about the other two guys in the ring. Punk has said enough, it’s time to hear from the two NEW Champions. Ryder says that he had to call his dad this morning just to ask if he really was the US Champion. His dad responded with a “Woo Woo Woo”.
Bryan says that people never expected Punk to become Champion, but no one even thought that he would even make it into the WWE. People like Michael Cole have told him from the start he couldn’t make it.
The Miz walks out onto the ramp in silence. First Dolph Ziggler, then Alberto Del Rio, come out to flank him. They walk down to the ring as a trio, and are looking for a fight. They try to enter the ring, but Ryder, Bryan and Punk, keep them on the outside. Ryder hits a somersault plancha to the outside, and all hell breaks loose once again.
John Laurinaitis appears on the ramp and says that he gave all of these men opportunities at the PPV last night. Some capitalized, others did not. John says that’s tonight main event will be a six man tag with all of these men. It will be Ryder, Punk & Bryan v. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio. John says that the crowd should consider this his Christmas present to the WWE audience, and then wishes the crowd Merry Christmas.
Randy Orton v. Wade Barrett
They exchange blows and Orton backs Wade into the corner. He connects with his ten punches and follows with a hard clothesline. Cover, but Wade kicks out. Orton stomps across Wade’s forearm, which sends him rolling out of the ring. Orton follows after and throws his head against the ring apron. Wade kicks him in the gut, and then lifts Orton into the air and drops him rib first across the barricade. Wade connects with a kick to the skull. Wade slides back into the ring as we head to commercial.
Back from the break, Wade is still in control. He kicks Orton out of the ring, and then drives The Viper back first into the ring apron. Wade slides him in the ring and goes for the cover, but Orton kicks out. Wade applies a rear headlock. Wade goes for Wasteland, but Orton reverses into a backbreaker! Orton takes him to the apron and sets up the suspended DDT. The move connects, and Orton begins to pound the mat! Wade gouges Orton in the eye, causing the referee to call for the DQ.
Winner via DQ: Randy Orton
After the match, Wade continues the onslaught. He stomps and kicks him over and over. Wade hits the Winds of Change. Wade gets out of the ring, and grabs a table! Wade brings it in and sets it up in the middle of the ring. Wade connects with Wasteland straight through the table! Wade places his foot on Orton’s chest in celebration.
Beth Phoenix v. Alicia Fox
WrestleView VIP Member, Frank McMahen, responded to my request for a recap of this match (so that I didn’t have to recap an Alicia Fox match) with this tweet:
@TheDaveStephens Alicia Fox keeps swiveling her hips so damn much that it catches Beth Phoenix off guard and gets the surprise pin #recap
Works for me, thanks Frank!
Winner: Alicia Fox
After the match, Alicia wishes the audience a “foxy” Christmas.
Jinder Mahal walks down the ring towards a waiting Sheamus. He says that it is time for someone to put the Great White in his place.
Sheamus v. Jinder Mahal
Sheamus is in control at the start and throws Jinder towards the corner. He pulls him out into a clobbering lariat. Sheamus heads to the top rope for the battering ram, but Jinder moves out of the way. Sheamus doesn’t hesitate and goes right for the Irish Curse Backbreaker. Sheamus lifts him high into the air and connects with the Celtic Cross. This match is over!
Winner via Celtic Cross: Sheamus
John Cena’s music hits. He enters the ring and says that apparently, there are some people who do not like him. Apparently, he can get under the skin of some people. Cena says that he can understand why The Rock doesn’t like him. What Cena doesn’t understand, is why there is a masked monster on the loose that chokeslammed him last week on RAW. Cena wants to believe that last week he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, if he wasn’t, he is here to face his fears. Cena says that if last week was an accident, he will let it go. But, if it wasn’t an accident, then they have business. Right now, they should handle that business!
Instead of Kane’s music, Mark Henry’s music hits. The World’s Strongest Man limps his way in a walking boot down the ramp. Henry says that the business Cena needs to be concerned about is that Henry had him lying in the middle of the ring last week. If it wasn’t for Kane, Cena would be the newest member of the Hall of Pain. Henry says that Cena is out here doing a monologue full of jokes. Henry has made it to the apron. He says he isn’t in the mood for jokes; he lost his World Title last night. Henry is out here to address his injury and why he lost his match. Henry says that if he was Cena, he’d get out of his face. Cena looks ready to fight, but fire erupts!
Kane appears on the entrance ramp! The masked demon walks down to the ring, and heads around to the outside where Henry has found himself. Kane stares at Henry through his Predator mask, and then turns his attention towards John Cena. Kane enters the ring after removing his outer mask. Cena attacks him right away, and clotheslines Kane out of the ring. Kane grabs the feet of Cena and pulls him out of the ring. Cena goes flying over the announcers table! Kane grabs him again and continues the onslaught. Kane lays Cena across the announce table, smothers him with his glove, and then strips him of his shirt. Cena is hurt and confused as Kane leaves with the shirt in tow.
The Usos v. Primo & Epico w/ Rosa Mendes
The match starts off with some quick back and forth. Epico gets the tag as does Jey Uso. Epico takes control and prevents a tag with a drop toe hold. Jey gets to his feet and sets up for the Rikishi ass splash. It connects, but Primo comes in to make the save. Jimmy charges the ring, but Primo throws him to the outside. Jey kicks Primo out of the ring, but the distraction is enough for Epico to hit the backstabber! This match is over.
Winners: Primo & Epico
Josh Mathews is in the back with IC Champion, Cody Rhodes. Santino interrupts Cody talking about Booker. He has a basket and asks if Rhodes would like a present. Rhodes looks on as Santino reveals what’s inside… Santino’s hand in the cobra sleeve!
Cody Rhodes v. Santino Marella
Cody is strong at the start and backs Santino into the corner with a choke. Rhodes hits a Russian leg sweep. He stomps on the arm of Santino, working on the cobra arm. Santino gets back to his feet and goes for the Cobra! Rhodes ducks, and lifts him up for an Alabama Slam!
Winner via Alabama Slam: Cody Rhodes
Video: John Cena at Tribute to the Troops
The Bella Twins are in the back with John Laurinaitis and David Otunga. They say that they don’t appreciate the way Teddy Long was talking to them at the PPV last night. They begin to bicker. John says that the board is aware of that problem, they are looking into it. In the meantime, he’d like to wish them a very Merry Christmas. They thank him with pecks on the cheek. Vickie walks into the shot and is complaining about last night’s happenings. Hornswoggle is on a chair behind her and has mistletoe in his hand. Vickie says she has nothing to do with that. ‘Swoggle grabs Vickie, and plants a kiss on her lips! Vickie is left screaming as everyone walks out of the room chuckling.
Video: Plug for WWE.com Interview with Zack Ryder & Father after his US Championship win
Josh Mathews is in the back with Big Show, and asks him about Daniel Bryan winning the Title last night. Show says that after 9 years he finally had the Title back in his hands. Show says that it is almost his fault, because he encouraged Bryan not to wait to WrestleMania and cash the case against Henry a couple of weeks ago. Show says that he has to give Bryan some credit, he is living his dream. Josh says that Show is a nice guy, but he can’t be that nice. Josh points out that Big Show has a record that will probably never be broken – he is the shortest reigning World Heavyweight Champion in WWE History! Show looks a bit steamed and cracks his knuckles.
Alberto Del Rio, The Miz & Dolph Ziggler v. CM Punk, Zack Ryder & Daniel Bryan
Ryder, Punk & Bryan all make their entrances through the crowd!
Punk and Miz start off the match. Punk is whipped into the ropes, but connects with a couple of hip tosses. Bryan gets the tag and hits a dropkick on Miz. Cover, but Miz kicks out. Dolph gets the tag and walks into a drop toe hold. Bryan looks for a surfboard, but instead uses the position to stomp on Ziggler. Rio and Miz run in to make the save, but both get thrown to the outside with Dolph. Bryan fakes a dive and falls to the mat. Ryder hits his plancha, Bryan flies off the apron with a running knee, and Punk leaps from the top rope with a crossbody!
Dolph has Daniel Bryan down on the mat in a side headlock. Bryan gets to his feet and charges off the ropes. Dolph hits a lariat and goes for the cover. Bryan kicks out. Miz gets the tag and kicks Bryan in the side of the gut. Miz charges and stomps Bryan in the head. Del Rio gets the tag. Bryan gets caught with a knee to the gut. Rio has an arm bar, and pushes Bryan towards the ropes. Rio hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Dolph gets the tag. Bryan counters a splash with a boot to the jaw. Bryan begins to crawl towards his corner and tags in Ryder. Dolph is hit with a flying lariat followed by a bulldog. Ryder charges and connects with a splash. Ryder hits the Broski boot, knocks Ziggler’s partners off the apron, and then goes for the cover. Dolph kicks out and gets to his feet. He hits a dropkick to the face and goes for the cover, but Ryder kicks out.
The Miz gets the tag and connects with a running knee. Cover, but Zack kicks out. Miz goes to a seated rear headlock. Ryder gets to his feet as Del Rio gets the tag. Rio charges, but is sent flying out of the ring! Zack struggles to his corner. Punk and Miz both get tags. Punk flies in with a springboard crossbody followed by a swinging neckbreaker. Miz is hit with a high knee in the corner, and then gets scoop slammed. Punk goes to the top rope and looks for the elbow. Punk hits a HUGE elbow and goes for the cover. Miz kicks out, but is immediately placed in the Anaconda Vice. Dolph runs in to make the save! Ryder pulls him out of the ring. Rio charges in, but is caught with a missile dropkick from Bryan. Miz gets hit with a GTS, and rolls out of the ring. Del Rio and Bryan are the two legal men and are the only two in the ring. Rio goes for the Cross Arm Breaker, but Bryan counters into the LeBelle Lock! This match is over!
Winners: CM Punk, Zack Ryder & Daniel Bryan
After the match, the 3 Champions celebrate with the crowd!
It was a bit of a different feeling on the show tonight with Ryder, Punk & Bryan starting and ending the show with the Titles raised above their heads in celebration. While it did feel a bit like they were celebrating a high school football championship victory at times in comparison to the normal WWE style promo celebrations, it felt genuine. That’s what has set these three guys apart from their colleagues during their careers. Love them or hate them, they seem to be genuinely living out their dreams. In this life, people should certainly be lauded for their accomplishments. I have moments where I tire of some the antics or characters, but I have always had the deepest of respect for these guys. I saw a lot of their early career work in the WWE ring thanks to my time recapping ECW/NXT. Ryder did have tag team success on the other brands, but he came in to his own on that show. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Bryan, and watching him wrestle on a number of occasions. Just like Punk, he always gave it his all to please the paying audience. Tonight, they deserved the celebration time they were allotted. Congrats gentlemen.
John Laurinaitis continues to play his character to perfection. He makes it so crazy difficult to like him, that I have to appreciate that. He’s taking a lot of abuse to become a strong heel GM and it is working.
Wade Barrett and Orton’s match clearly showed that their feud is far from over. Why? It may be as simple as creative deciding that Wade would benefit more from being put over in a month or two, then at the PPV last night.
I can’t believe they are actually pushing Alicia Fox on RAW. She comes back from injury with a Kevin Steen 450 Leg Drop and now she’s “good”? No, she’s awful. That prancing and hip shaking is so dumb it’s ridiculous. It’s like she takes copious amounts of speed before walking out to the ring. As for that ring attire… I guess she raided Maria’s wardrobe? If that’s the case, PLEASE for the love of God if WWE changes their stance on Playboy, DON’T follow in Maria’s footsteps. I don’t know what blackmail she has over John Laurinaitis so that she can keep collecting a paycheck, but it must be huge. I just don’t get it.
Thanks for showing up Jinder Mahal.
Cena’s moment at Tribute to the Troops was touching.
Kane’s predator mask needs to go, it’s awful. The basic red one looks nice, but let’s talk about his ring attire. Whoever designed that attire must have lost their sense of design for the day because the colors are horrific. I’m supposed to be frightened by childish bright colors? It’s disappointing because he looks like a joke. Well, a 7 foot monster can’t really be considered a joke, but you get my point.
I really wasn’t struck either way by the tag match. It was the pretty standard fare, with the added bonus of a very into her heritage Rosa Mendes as of late.
Santino’s skit with Rhodes was hilarious. I laughed out loud when the cobra came back for the third time. Their match accomplished its purpose, and was entertaining. I wonder if Cody is using the Alabama Slam as a tribute to his former tag partner Hardcore Holly?
Hornswoggle kissing Vickie under the mistletoe was, in the least, tied with Santino/Cody for segment of the night. The kiss and watching her scream in agony was classic.
The six-man tag was a fun main event to close the show. The entrances and post-match celebrations were a nice touch.
Overall, I’d say this was a pretty decent edition of Monday Night RAW. It was leaps and bounds better than last week’s three hour monstrosity of a Slammy Awards telecast. Coming off what I feel was one of the strongest PPVs of the year; it looks like good things are in store for 2012.
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