Coming off one of the most exciting PPVs of the year, this week’s Slammy episode of Raw was full of surprises. WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair made his return to present John Cena with the Superstar of the Year award, only to get in to a physical altercation with CM Punk and the Shield. ECW original Tommy Dreamer aligned himself with Alberto Del Rio and the Miz to take care of 3MB. And NXT standout Big E Langston made his debut by taking out John Cena in the main event. All this coupled with a cast of former stars including the Boogeyman and the New Age Outlaws, made the 3 hours a little more bearable.
Rey Mysterio def. Damien Sandow:
In a throwaway match that essentially nullified Rhodes Scholars’ victory at TLC, Rey Mysterio squashed Damien Sandow with the 619 in only a few minutes. While most fans are going to pop for Rey it’s not very encouraging to see one of the most polished stars of the next generation being jobbed out for no apparent reason. Rey could just as easily have squashed a lower card talent for the same crowd reaction.
Kofi Kingston won the “Tell Me I Did Not Just See That” Moment of the Year Slammy:
In the first surprise appearance of the night Booker T was joined by the Boogeyman to announce the “Tell Me I Did Not Just See That” Moment of the Year Slammy. Boogeyman took to the stage with a mouthful of worms to help introduce the award, chowing down on them before taking his leave.
Boogeyman’s departure allowed Booker to present the trophy to Kofi Kingston, who won for his highlight-reel worthy handstand walk during the 2012 Royal Rumble Match. Brad Maddox, who thought he was a shoe-in to win the award for his low blow on Ryback walked away disappointed.
Kaitlyn def. Divas Champion Eve:
Kaitlyn steals a non-title victory from Eve.
Jerry “The King” Lawler won the Comeback of the Year Slammy:
The year 2012 was one of comebacks for several Superstars both inside and outside the ring, so who better to present the Comeback of the Year Slammy than the reunited New Age Outlaws?
The five-time World Tag Team Champions (by which of course, we mean the five-time TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOOOORRRRRLLLLDDDD), no strangers to comebacks themselves, took to the stage to present the nominees. The Outlaws ultimately awarded the Slammy to Jerry Lawler, who defeated Brock Lesnar, D-Generation X and Chris Jericho for the honor.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston def. Tensai:
Tensai nearly had The Dreadlocked Dynamo beaten during that bout, cutting off each of Kofi’s signature attacks mid-strike, but Kofi gained the upper hand quickly and did not relent. The champion unleashed “The Wildcat” on his monstrous foe, stoically toughing out Tensai’s offense and springing a surprise Trouble in Paradise to seal the deal. Kofi wasn’t going to get out of Philly without a word in from Wade Barrett, though. The jilted challenger for Kofi’s title at WWE TLC made his presence known in a brutal way, knocking Kofi from the turnbuckle before unleashing the Bull Hammer elbow to deliver a vicious statement to the champion.
AJ Lee and John Cena won the Kiss of the Year, but she tops it with Dolph Ziggler:
With AJ apparently shirking the romantic company of Cena for the bleach-blond charms of Dolph Ziggler, Vickie was a bit wounded given her on-and-off dalliances with The Showoff in the past couple of years. Still, the Managing Supervisor manned up and awarded the smooch statuette to AJ, though she wasn’t above demanding an explanation for the Brooklyn, N.Y., betrayal the night before.
But instead of closure, Vickie was left with egg on her face when AJ sauntered out and — strike up the band and make the fireflies dance — planted a big old smooch on Ziggler’s face after The Showoff came out to try to keep the peace.
I’m glad they swerved us with AJ turning on Cena. Initially I hoped AJ was secretly working with Ziggler and Vickie, but the current storyline is far more loyal to AJ’s “crazy chick” character. Going forward though it may be tough to define the faces and heels in the whole situation.
The Great Khali def. David Otunga:
Khali wins the squash after a chop to the head.
Ric Flair returned, presented Superstar of the Year to John Cena and fought WWE Champion CM Punk & The Shield:
“The Nature Boy’s” return to WWE did not come to pass without a maelstrom of controversy after the two-time WWE Hall of Famer was awarded the Slammy by its voted recipient, John Cena. But before Flair could take the trophy in his perfectly manicured hands, WWE Champion CM Punk hobbled out to the stage to drop a “pipe bomb” on Flair, unleashing a tirade against “Naitch” and insisting he, not Flair or Cena, was the true Superstar of the Year.
So how does Ric Flair respond to such a thing? Why, he challenged Punk to a fight. The Second City Saint obliged, too, shattering one of his crutches over Flair’s back before The Dirtiest Player in the Game countered by poking Punk in the eye and wrenching Paul Heyman into the Figure-Four Leglock. With Punk and Heyman dispatched, Flair took to the mic to address the Philadelphia crowd … until the crackling static of The Shield’s theme spelled doom for Flair. “Come on down, boys,” he said, clearly ready for more.
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns had just begun to decimate the two-time WWE Hall of Famer when hellfire erupted and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No thundered to “The Nature Boy’s” aid. Not even the demented duo of Kane & Daniel Bryan could save “Naitch” from the renegade trio, who prepared to unleash the triple powerbomb on Flair and send him through the announce table …
Until, that is, feeding time started.
Showing no ill effects of The Shield’s handiwork the previous night at WWE TLC, Ryback stormed to the ring and laid waste to Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns one by one. His presence seemingly galvanized the Tag Team Champions, and the trio quickly beat The Shield back into the crowd before hoisting Flair into the lights for a well-earned welcome back moment. We missed you, Ric.
Flair played an important role tonight. His presence helped masked fans dislike for John Cena and did the opposite for CM Punk. It also helped put over the Shield who are soaring after their TLC performance.
Brodus Clay def. JTG:
Brodus gave no quarter in his dismantling of the Brooklyn-bred Superstar, tossing JTG to and fro before unleashing his signature splash to send his opponent back to the showers.
Santino Marella and Tensai presented LOL Moment of the Year to The Rock:
Things started off promisingly with presenters Santino Marella and Tensai, who was still disoriented from his loss to Kofi Kingston and took an impromptu tumble on the stage en route to the podium (the Slammys: They make you humble). After a brief linguistics lesson (Tensai is Japanese for “Fat Albert,” apparently), the odd couple presented the Slammy to The Rock for his disposal of John Cena’s merchandise in the Boston Harbor earlier this year. And while The Great One could not accept his Slammy in person, there was one man who was around to comment on the WWE Universe’s selection: Daniel Bryan, who stormed onto the stage and screamed the Slammy should have been his, as Team Hell No were nominated for their anger management sessions. But as the submission technician inched precariously closer to a total meltdown, Kane came to the rescue, carrying Bryan literally kicking and screaming off the stage.
Cody Rhodes def. Sin Cara:
The masked man was left wounded the previous evening at WWE TLC after having his leg mangled in the crook of the steel steps by the IQ-heavy tandem. Sin Cara wasted no time attempting to unman Rhodes in their grudge match in Philly. But despite The International Sensation’s unpredictable offense, Rhodes’ veteran wiles won out, catching Sin Cara mid-flight and pinning him with Cross Rhodes.
Zack Ryder and Layla presented Trending Now (Hashtag of the Year) to Ryback:
The Ultimate Broski — nominated alongside Ryback (#FeedMeMore), John Laurinaitis (#PeoplePower) and R-Truth (#LittleJimmy) — missed out on the hat trick and was unable to capture the Slammy for his own #WWWYKI hashtag. Instead, the award went to Ryback for #FeedMeMore, and while a disappointed Ryder didn’t quite get the prize, he did get a “Woo Woo Woo!” from a grateful Philly crowd for good measure.
Sheamus confronted World Heavyweight Champion Big Show; John Cena foiled Dolph Ziggler’s Money in the Bank cash-in attempt:
It takes a big man to swing a big chair, but it takes a bigger man to own up to his shortcomings. Despite his failure to reclaim the World Heavyweight Title at WWE TLC, Sheamus came to the stage at the Slammys to shake Big Show’s hand in congratulations for a hard-fought retention of his prize. But despite The Celtic Warrior’s good sportsmanship, The World’s Largest Athlete wasn’t feeling reciprocal in the slightest. “Now get to the back of the line, your potato-eating Irishman,” the giant sneered.
This was, perhaps, unwise.
Sheamus erupted in response, unleashing a world of hurt on the giant and lacing into Show with his own mammoth chair as payback for both the defeat and the remark, executing the Brogue Kick as a final exclamation point to send the champion into dreamland. With the giant prone and helpless, Dolph Ziggler ran out to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. But John Cena was lying in wait to pay The Showoff back for his ill-gotten victory the evening before. The Cenation leader did his work well, stopping Ziggler short of redeeming the coveted contract and keeping the World Heavyweight Championship out of his showoffish hands.
Part of me is glad that they’re continuing the Cena/Ziggler angle because Ziggler absolutely deserves to be in there with the company top dog, but at the same time if he continues to play second fiddle to AJ or cannot secure a clean victory, he’s never going to progress to the level they need.
The Miz, Alberto Del Rio & Tommy Dreamer def. 3MB:
The hits just keep on coming for 3MB. One night after suffering a loss to The Miz, Alberto Del Rio & The Brooklyn Brawler, the wannabe rock gods found themselves coming up short again against Miz, Del Rio & a third mystery partner. This time, however, the third man wasn’t a Brooklyn native but the “heart and soul” of Philly’s own ECW … Tommy Dreamer.
As a wave of “E-C-DUB!” chants echoed through the Wells Fargo Center, Dreamer took to the ring alongside the unlikely duo of Miz & Del Rio and proceeded to educate 3MB in the rough-and-tumble ways of ECW, lacing into the bandmates with hard right hands before climbing the turnbuckle and felling all three men with a flying axe handle. 3MB fought their way back to the upper hand but Miz and Del Rio evened the odds, beating back the bandmates and tipping the scales in their favor. Del Rio had Slater dead to rights and prone to the Cross Armbreaker when The Essence of Excellence suddenly pulled back and summoned Dreamer to finish the job. The ECW Original stormed into the ring with a vengeance, unleashing an old-school beatdown on the rockers before notching the three-count on Slater with a DDT.
Ryback won Newcomer of the Year and def. U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro via Count-Out:
So what did the WWE Universe go to for its Newcomer of the Year Slammy Award? Intellectualism, Swiss superiority, funk or insatiable hunger?
Turns out hunger, as always, won out in the end, as the WWE Universe spoke and crowned Ryback the king of 2012’s newest competitors over Brodus Clay, Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow. The beast took to the stage and evoked the late, great Owen Hart and roared “enough is enough and it’s time for a change. I am that change!” before storming to the ring for his contest against one of his fellow nominees, the irate U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro. And The Swiss Superman backed up his disparaging remarks against the ravenous Ryback with his signature strength in a brutal contest of power, nearly felling Ryback with his endless arsenal of power strikes. Ryback surged back, reversing Cesaro’s Neutralizer into a backdrop, but the champion had seen enough and vacated the ring, leaving Ryback to claim the win via count-out.
Jim Ross, “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat awarded Match of the Year to Triple H and The Undertaker:
Jim Ross and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat took to the stage in an effort to present the Match of the Year Slammy. And what else could it have been besides the epic confrontation between The Undertaker and Triple H at WrestleMania XXVIII — the “End of an Era” Match that took The Phenom to 20-0 on The Grandest Stage of Them All. The King of Kings accepted the award on behalf of both men, thanking the WWE Universe and issuing a jaw-dropping promise: “You have not seen the last of The Undertaker.”
John Cena & Vickie Guerrero def. Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee via Disqualification after Big E Langston interfered:
“Everyone keeps asking me why,” AJ Lee told the assembled Philadelphia crowd from her perch atop a ladder. “I thought it would be obvious,” she cooed. But before AJ could reveal her motives, Vickie Guerrero made her way to the ring with John Cena and Dolph Ziggler following so the foursome’s Mixed Tag Match could begin in earnest. Ziggler began the match with a strut in his step (literally, he did Ric Flair’s strut) and went mano a mano against Cena with mat wrestling techniques, looping in and out of various holds before AJ tagged in and Vickie swarmed the former Raw General Manager in the ring. AJ vacated the contest following Vickie’s mauling, with the Managing Supervisor following suit and leaving Cena and Ziggler to their own devices. The two Superstars clashed mightily, with Ziggler nearly felling the Cenation leader until Cena turned the tables.
But before Cena could force Ziggler to submit to the STF, AJ returned with a hulking accomplice: the monstrous Big E Langston, who sprinted to the ring and made quick work of Cena. The attack left the 10-time WWE Champion sprawled on the mat while the NXT strongman stood tall and AJ skipped about, smiling like she knew the biggest secret in the world.
Things are starting to get exciting again with all the new talent ready to make a name for themselves. From watching NXT Langston is silently charismatic and above average in terms of “big man” agility, meaning he has bucket loads of potential. With such a high profile debut it seems the company are at least going to give him an opportunity. The pairing with AJ is interesting considering he’s recently been feuding with Vickie in NXT.
All that being said Ziggler is the one that deserves the spotlight right now and it would be a shame if he’s somehow overshadowed, not just by Cena but now the new guy.
Despite a card cluttered with pointless squash matches, with all the names from the past making appearances and the pushing and debuting of new stars, this made for an enjoyable Raw. A solid new generation of talent is starting to emerge, which has freshened up the show and given us older cynical fans some hope.
Category: TV and PPV, Wrestling News |