WWE has stacked the first show of 2012 with a long teaser for a surprise return and much more. Join me starting at 9pm EST tonight for live coverage of the show!
Raw starts off with a video recap of the Kane/John Cena SAGA that unfolded to close out 2011.
John Cena is here! He cuts a wacky promo about his gimmick and not turning heel. Promo has some jokes, not very good. Kane music! Kane is here and he promises to show John Cena the meaning of hate tonight.
Creepy vignette – The End Begins Tonight.
Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes
Match is apparently non-title for both titles. Back in my day a World Champ vs. IC Champ match would headline Wrestlemania! Match was about 3 minutes of back and forth action before Bryan rolled up Rhodes for a pin out of no where.
Bryan celebrated with the belt as his precious after the match.
Video replay of Truth returning to attack Miz last week.
Backstage, John Laurinaitis talks to the Miz, who is upset about the attack we just were reminded about. Laurinaitis says he’s not going to punish Truth and shows Miz the footage of when he attacked Truth a few weeks ago. Also Miz vs Sheamus is booked for tonight. Miz says he will be a sitting duck, Laurinaitis says better than a lame duck! Miz exits muttering about being a sitting duck. Truth walks in, looking dapper, and quacks while flapping his arms like a crazyman.
Royal Rumble historical video package, good stuff.
Wade Barrett comes out to continue the stream of Smackdown superstars. He shows a video of throwing Randy Orton down a flight of stairs, which has made his 2012 Orton-free. Now he is setting his sights on the Royal Rumble. This brings out Santino Marella, who says HE will win the Rumble. It’s a match!
Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella
SQUASH ALERT. Mostly Wade on offense. Santino does a split to avoid Barrett but gets stuck, and in a funny spot Barrett kicks him over. Barrett won with the Bossman Slam he had a new name for – The Winds of Change.
The Bella Twins argue backstage and the Miz approaches and asks if they have seen Truth. They mock him. He walks away but Truth is stalking in the shadows.
Sheamus vs. The Miz
Sheamus pounds on the Miz for a couple minutes and Miz runs away into the crowd.
Winner: Sheamus by CO
The Truth gets on the house mic from the crowd and taunts the Miz back to the ring, where he eats a KICK from Sheamus. Then Truth attacks and hits the dreaded WATERBOTTLE OF DOOM and Miz is out cold.
During the break, a promo for a March 18th MSG houseshow touts a Daniel Bryan World title defense.
Josh Matthews interviews Dolph Ziggler backstage – he is gonna win the World title… TONIGHT.
Zack Ryder and Eve are chatting backstage when Jack Swagger comes over. They bicker about the US Title. John Laurinaitis books a six man tag for the main event – Swagger/Mark Henry/Kane vs. Ryder/Big Show/John Cena. Then he smiles weirdly and repeats “John Cena”.
CM Punk is WALKING. He looks pissed – probably because his World Title match is the 10pm main event NEXT
WWE World Title Match
CM Punk (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero
Ziggler comes out second. Match starts off with a flurry and settles into a long heat sequence for Ziggler. He hits a neckbreaker, dropkick and more. Ziggler sends Punk to the floor, brings him back in for a cover for 2. This leads into a
And we’re back and Punk is on offense. Powerslam by Punk gets 2. Ziggler back on offense with a Fame-asser for a 2 count then a wicked gut-wrench throw. Punk comes back with a bulldog. They trade on offense until John Laurinaitis comes down and distracts the ref as Punk has the Anaconda Vice on Ziggler. The turnbuckle came loose and he was helping to put it back. Ziggler taps! But the ref is distracted. More shenannigans lead to Punk getting Ziggler up for Go To Sleep but Ziggler floats out, pushes Punk into Laurinitis who was still on the apron. He pulls down the top rope and Punk tumbles to the floor and is counted out.
Winner: Ziggler by CO
Ziggler grabs the title and celebrates his countout win, and Punk watches the replay, gets upset and chases after Ziggler.
Cole and Lawler promote the six-man main event and are interupted by a CREPPY VIGNETTE which ends with He Is Here.
Royal Rumble Flashback – 1995 when HBK and Davey Boy were 1 and 2 and lasted to the end. Also that was a 1-minute Rumble.
The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie) vs. Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly
Bellas are in black bodysuits and faces are in orange/yellow bikinis. Women’s action for about 2 minutes. One of the Bella is out cold in the ring so the other uses TWIN MAGIC and switches with her. This Bella rolls up Eve for the pin.
Backstage, John Laurinaitis and David Otunga are chatting when CM Punk storms in. He yells at them and it ends up with Punk vs. Ziggler at the Royal Rumble with Laurinaitis as special referee.
Raw is back and once again it’s a CREEPY VIGNETTE. It leads into a dark arena. Dark for a while. Then it’s a glittery vest – Chris Jericho has returned!
He comes out to his old theme and milks the reaction for a LONG time. Then he gets on the mic and does some of his Y2J/hair metal lead singer screams mic work which the crowd begins to turn on. He wins them back with some continued “lead singer” type screams and antics. This is going way over the top in a Spinal Tap-like way that seems intended to turn him heel. Jericho does several laps around the ring soaking in cheers and some boos. Then goes back up the ramp and then to the stage, where he poses again. This lasted about 10 minutes of Jericho running around screaming and such. Crowd was half booing at the end of it. Announcers sold it confusedly.
Kane, Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder, The Big Show & John Cena
Kane has apparently alerted David Otunga that he will not be participating so it becomes a 3 on 2 handicap match. Lets Go Cena and Cena Sucks dueling chants lead us into another mid-match
And we’re back and Swagger is controlling on Cena. Heat sequence until Cena gets a hot tag to Big Show. He runs wild on Swagger ,who tags in Mark Henry. He comes into the ring tentatively, they brawl to the floor and Show uses a chair. They are both DQed and eliminated. This leaves Cena/Ryder vs Swagger. Ryder goes to work on Swagger, but he rebounds and locks in the Ankle Lock. Ryder reaches for a tag to Cena and gets it – while in the Ankle Lock. Cena comes in AHOUSEAFIRE and goes wild on Swagger. You Can’t See Me and Five Knuckle Shuffle right in the mush. Attitude Adjustment on Swagger for the pin and main event squash.
Winners: Cena, Show, Ryder
Kane’s music plays and he comes out from under the ring and rips through the canvas as Cena is on the ramp. He attacks and chokes out Cena. Kane notices Zack Ryder laid out in the ring and goes after him. Kane drags Ryder into the hole in the canvas, but Cena comes in and grabs Ryder to make the save. As they recover, KANE FLAME blasts out of the canvas hole where Ryrder JUST WAS.
This was not my favorite Raw.