Thoughts and Deliberations from Monday Night Raw 1-23-12

If last night confirmed anything for us, it showed us that the Big Red Machine is back and back with a vengeance. This looked like the Kane of old and when Zack Ryder stepped into the ring for a falls count anywhere match, you knew he was in for trouble. The “match”, if you even want to call it that, went on for quite a while, with Ryder maybe getting one solid hit in on Kane. The rest of it was him getting absolutely brutalized, culminated with him getting choke-slammed right through the metal stage. Ryder lay motionless as Eve looked on in tears, but then, things went from bad to worse. The idiot himself, John Cena, came out AGAIN to say he would take care of this and have Ryder’s back. This needs to stop because as SITB co-editor Phil so aptly put it, Ryder needs to part with his new bro Cena or else he is going to lose his entire fan base. We’ll see what happens when Cena takes on Kane this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, but here’s to hoping that Cena and Ryder is a thing of the past.

Phoenix also witnessed something that no other WWE city has witnessed in 2012, and that is hearing Chris Jericho speak into a microphone. Although he only spoke very briefly, what he uttered is actually pretty promising. Granted the majority of the time he was out there he was shushing the crowd, he uttered these crowd pleasing words as he finished his segment: “This Sunday at the Royal Rumble, it’s going to be the end of the world as you know it.” So now we know that not only is Jericho going to be participating in the Royal Rumble, but apparently has something pretty big up his sleeve. Honestly though, if they keep up this ridiculous heel gimmick they have going with him into Sunday, it would be genius. What they have done with Y2J since his return has been nothing short of amazing. They have him polarize the crowd night in and night out, and he continues to do nothing. He goes from the most loved guy in the arena, right back to the heel in only a few minutes. Imagine if they pulled a stunt like that at the Royal Rumble? I probably wouldn’t be mad.

Last night also saw the return of Jericho’s infamous segment, the Highlight Reel. It was a pretty cool segment and you can watch the clip below.

In other noteworthy news, Brodus “Funkasaurus” Clay won another match, this time taking Heath Slater out in what seemed like 2 minutes. Clay and his new character have been growing on me in recent weeks, but again, he gets a nonsense match against a joke of an opponent. I really think the Funkasaurus is growing on the WWE Universe and that he will be getting a bit of a push soon. Maybe they will use the Royal Rumble to catapult Clay into the mix of contenders or maybe we’ll be forced to watch countless two minute matches and wonder what could be with this massive superstar.

I am going to make a bold Royal Rumble prediction based off of one of last nights matches. The Miz lost to R-Truth (who is getting really annoying) in a match that saw the loser get stuck in the first slot at the Royal Rumble. This means once the 30 Man Rumble starts Sunday, The Miz is going to be the first man in the ring. If he is to win the match, he would need to beat out 29 other competitors to take the cake. I do not think Miz is going to come out the winner, but I am predicting a serious run. Miz is too talented to be stuck in the rut he is in, feuding with R-Truth, and I think a serious run in the Royal Rumble will help his case. Again, you heard it here, Miz is going to last a long time in the Rumble, I’m predicting somewhere in the low to mid twenties.

The big news of the evening centered around CM Punk and John Laurinaitis. Raw started off with Punk coming to the ring and calling out Laurinaitis, verbally humiliating him in front of the WWE Universe, and seeking justice for all the misdoings that Laurinaitis has been responsible for against Punk. Instead that dolt Cena strolls out to he can plea for a match with Kane and that Ryder gets a re-match for his United States Championship. Again ENOUGH with the Cena-Ryder schtick. It sucks. Then Laurinaitis created a tag team match of CM Punk and Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. This paired up WWE Champion CM Punk against the number one contender Dolph Ziggler for the fourth time in recent weeks, and Ziggler ended up pinning Punk…again. Of course Laurinaitis had something to do with the outcome…again, which drove Punk to his boiling point. He called out the Executive Vice President for Talent Relations and the Interim Raw General Manager and challenged him to a bout later in the evening. Much to our disbelief, Laurinaitis accepted!

Guess what? That match never happened. Shocker I know, but at least something awesome happened. Laurinaitis came out with his boy toy David Otunga and read a letter to the crowd and to Punk. The letter was from Triple-H and the rest of the Board of Directors and it said that Laurinaitis was under evaluation and that his decision making ability has been called into question. It now seems evident that Laurinaitis will have to call a fair match between CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler on Sunday when the WWE Championship is on the line. This is huge news because all along it was clear that Laurinaitis was going to do what he could as the guest referee to screw Punk out of his title.

I really have no idea and really no opinion on who wins the WWE Championship on Sunday. Punk has been at or near the top for a long time and the WWE Universe could use a shake up, and a guy like Ziggler has been climbing the mountain for a while so I would not be shocked to see him take the belt. However, Punk has been and still is the best the WWE has to offer. He is the total package and having him with the title is great for the company because it keeps its older fans happy. Ziggler wouldn’t neccesarily upset the masses, and having a true heel at the top would be fun, but whatever happens, the WWE Title match on Sunday promises to be a great one.

Royal Rumble Predictions:

WWE Championship: Dolph Ziggler defeats CM Punk

Triple Threat Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry: Daniel Bryan wins and keeps his belt, feeding off of the anger from the Big Show’s brutal attack on his girlfriend a mere two weeks ago.

John Cena vs. Kane: Kane defeats Cena with a choke-slam to hell

30 Man Royal Rumble: Randy Orton returns with a bang and wins the Rumble, but not without fights from The Miz and Chris Jericho.

I had to include this segment from last night. EWWWWWW.

Thoughts and Deliberations from Monday Night Raw 1-16-2012

Last night on Raw, some interesting and dare I say major events transpired. First and foremost, former Hardcore Champion and all around favorite of mine and many wrestling fans, Mick Foley made his triumphant return to the WWE Universe. He came out and plead his case for a spot in the upcoming Royal Rumble. The crowd went nuts, and I was pretty pumped too…only to have Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis shut the idea down almost immediately. As much of a dope Laurinaitis is, he has been making me laugh the past few weeks and is actually growing on me. CM Punk proceeded to come out and endorse Foley’s case for Royal Rumble, but Laurinaitis wasn’t having any of it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on this one, but I really hope Foley makes an appearance at the Rumble.

There was also a huge match in which the United States Championship was on the line. Zack Ryder, who held the belt going into Monday Night, was viciously and brutally attacked by the Big Red Monster Kane last week. Ryder was hobbled by a back injury and was forced to go into a match with Jack Swagger…with his championship on the line. Naturally with his back in the state it was in, Ryder didn’t stand a chance against the bigger Swagger. Swagger targeted Ryder’s back from the start and brutally beat Ryder to take the belt and become the new United States Champion, a title fitting for a man who is known as the All-American American. Personally, I used to love Ryder when he was working his way up the ranks, and in recent weeks I have grown frustrated with who he has become. I hate his pairing with Cena and am getting a little tired of his gimmick. Until he changes things up a bit, I don’t see Ryder getting a big push anytime soon.

Image from WWE.com

On a totally different note, Brodus Clay had another fun, yet short match, this time matching up with JTG (WHO?!). Honestly, at first I was not a huge fan of Clay and his new alter ego, “The Funkasaurus”, but now I am loving it. The WWE didn’t need another generic big, fat, power wrestler. Brodus Clay as The Funkasaurus is something different and something fun and I am liking it. I wonder how long it takes for him to start getting some real matches, matches that last longer than a minute and a half. His goofy dance moves both in his introduction and during the match are awesome, and although he isn’t the most talented wrestler, he is huge and his power moves are impressive. I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes a run at the Rumble in two weeks.

Last but not least on my thoughts from the latest edition of Raw is the phenomenon that is Chris Jericho. The guy returned a few weeks ago after years of absence from the WWE and his return was met with great crowd reaction and excitement from fans all over the world. Hell, #Y2J was the number one trend on Twitter! However, the crowd eventually went sour towards Jericho. He just came out and went nuts for between 5-10 minutes, running around, screaming, pumping the crowd up…but never once picking up a mic and never performed a single wrestling move. He has continued this gimmick, and last night the crowd in Anaheim was excited because they thought he was going to be featured in the main event match, a 3 man tag match featuring Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga  against Chris Jericho, CM Punk & Daniel Bryan.

I was real pumped too not gonna lie. Then, when I believe Punk tagged Jericho, Jericho ran in the ring and proceeded to run around and pump up the crowd for a few seconds. Again, he didn’t perform one wrestling move, slapped tag partner Daniel Bryan on the chest for the tag, and walked down the ramp and went backstage. And that was that. Henry, Ziggler and Otunga ended up winning the match, but the real story continues to be Jericho, his arrogance and his insistance on not saying or doing anything week in and week out. How long will this last you may ask? That is a question I simply don’t have the answer to, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will play into the Royal Rumble, a mere two weeks away.

Any thoughts you have from RAW or just the wrestling world in general, feel free to let us know in the comments!