Event: WWE Monday Night RAW
Airdate: Monday, January 23rd, 2012 (USA Network)
Location: The US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona
Results by Tony Acero of 411
“Yes, sir, we promised you a great main event…”
LIVE in the home state of Phoenix, Arizona!!! And how else to start the show but with the WWE Champion, CM Punk?! So Punk gets his cross legged promo pose, so you know it’s real. He says that this week we’ve got the Rumble and we’ve got Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler a self-proclaimed show off and a man who has beaten Punk three times thus far. He says, however, that Johnny Ace is a determining factor here, and he will describe this factor in one word: Failure. He was a failure of a wrestler, he is a failure at an exec and a failure as a human being. Johnny sucks at life. He has said this to his face and he did something that shocked the world. He told the truth. We get a clip of Johnny Ace saying he is going to screw CM Punk to Mick Foley then the following mic check onto Foley’s head. Punk says that Ace will obviously be pretty damned biased. He says he’s pretty good and screwed. Unfortunately for Johnny, Punk knows better. There is a course of action he can take that will make him very happy. He says that it’s very tough to ref a match with two broken arms, soooooo, the ball is in Johnny’s court. He is invited to the ring to say everything he said last week, but to Punk’s face. He wants him to take the balls that are in his purse and be a man, man!
Johnny no-shows, however, so Punk says he’s going to go find him….ah but the synthesized beat of John Cena’s entrance music blows and just as the horn section chimes in, John Cena hisself comes out. He’s got the Super-Mega-I-Wont-Be-Funny-Today Face. Punk says he gets how Cena can get confused, he didn’t want John the boyscout, he wanted the man no one cares about. Cena says he was sick of hearing Punk ramble. He says that Johnny Ace will appear in minutes because he screwed over Zack Ryder last week and tonight he will give Ryder a rematch. He will also give Cena a one-on-one contest with Kane, who he will fight at the Royal Rumble. Most importantly, he will soon appear in front of the world and resign as the Interim GM. That gets nothing as well.
Punk says that this appears what the people want, everyone has spoken, but what makes Cena think that Johnny Ace is goin—-ah, here he is! He introduces himself to us. Johnny says that in life, we all have our bad days. Sometimes we say and do things we could all take back. Last week, however, was not one of those days for him. He will not be intimidated. Punk says he can’t hear a word Ace is saying, perhaps he should come into the ring. Ace says he doesn’t work for Punk. He is Punk’s boss and will not listen. Cena, Ace made a mistake last week and apologized to Zack. Fortunately, he can compete tonight. So, he can face Kane…tonight, in a Falls Count Anywhere match. If Cena gets involved, Ryder will never, EEEEEVVVVVVEEEERRRR get a rematch. Since both Punk and Cena seem to be on the same page, they’re going to team up tonight against…..here comes the NEW United States Champion Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. Ziggles is on the mic, he says that Punk shouldn’t be worried about Johnny Ace, he should be worried about Dolph. He doesn’t need to screw Punk, because this Sunday, Dolph is going to beat Punk. Swagger on the mic and he says Cena is dead meat for last week.
Johnny Ace follows shortly after the blonde bomber and American Lisper and makes his way to the commentary table.
Match 1: John Cena and CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
Ziggler and Cena to start. Cena with a side headlock into a take down and keeps Dolph grounded for a few seconds. Both men up and Dolph sends Cena to the corner, goes for a right, but Cena ducks, hits the ropes and tosses Ziggler. Bulldog and a cover for 1…2..NO! Cena twerks the arm then calls for a tag. Punk is in with a kick to the gut then a snapmare into a kick to the back. Pin for 1..No! Punk with a suplex but Dolph floats out and kicks Punk in the gut. Some rights, but Punk lifts him up for the G2S!! Ziggler hops off and rolls out of the ring as we go to break…
We are back, and Cena is pinning Ziggler for a 2. Ace doesn’t have the mic, as he is too busy texting someone or tweeting. Cena with a side headlock in the ring and Dolph is getting out of it with a kick then a punch. A whip, and Cena goes for a couple of punches, but Dolph ducks em. Dolph looks to spin-kick, but instead decides to press the D-Pad and taunts. Ziggler tags Swagger. Swagger is muy angry, goes in with some hits but gets hit hard, sent to the mat. Cena does the Flair strut to Dolph only for Swagger to attack from the back. Cena gets the upperhand back until Ziggler gets in a cheapshot and Swagger pins for 2. Swagger has a headlock on Cena for a while, and Cena begins to fade. He tells the ref he’s alright though, then forces Swagger towards Punk. He can’t reach him, so Cena hits a suplex to Swagger. Swagger tags Ziggler and Ziggles comes in with a nice looking dropkick. Pin for 1…2..NO!! Ziggler drops about 8 elbows onto Cena then does a few sit ups before pinning Cena for 2. Ziggler drops an elbow from behind and above then lifts up Cena and sends him to the heel corner. Ziggler with some stomps until the ref stops him. Swagger gets an illegal kick in then tags and hits a Swagger Bomb. Swagger with a pin for 1…2..NO! Swagger with a bear hug on the kneed Cena. Cena is able to stand up, lifts Swagger up out of nowhere and hits the Attitude Adjustment. We get a double tag to Ziggler and Punk. Punk with a punch, another, a swinging neckbreaker. High knee to the jaw and a bulldog as he calls for the G2S!!!! Ah, Ziggler counters and falls off the shoulders, only for Punk to hit a high roundhouse and a pin for 1…2..BROKEN UP BY SWAGGER!!! Cena is in and sends Swagger to the outside! Swagger with the ankle lock! Cena reverses into the STF while Punk hits the G2S! He pins, but the ref is busy with Cena and Swagger! Punk goes up top to the corner, and Johnny Ace is up and on the apron!! Punk yells at him long enough for Ziggler to roll him up for the 1..2…3!!!!
Winner: Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger (***1/2)
Great match with a lot of action, and Cena actually looked beatable! Dolph gets yet another win to brag about, and all four men looked great in there. I enjoyed it, even though it was a bit too short for my liking.
After the match, Punk calls for the mic. He says it doesn’t change a damned thing. He says that on Sunday, Ace plans on screwing him, which is fine because he plans on beating the hell out of Ace. He likes to give Ziggler presents? Well here’s one for him. He wants Ace to be something for one night that he’s never been in his life. For one night, Punk wants him to be a WWE Superstar. Punk wants CM Punk vs. Johnny Ace tonight. Laurinitis grins at the top of the ramp then says he….accepts.
What a nice surprise! Making his return as the host of “The Highlight Reel,” CHRIS JERICHO!!! This should be interesting!! Jericho comes out smacking hands. King says that Jericho has been named a participant of the upcoming Rumble. Jericho grabs the mic…I’m eager. He smiles as the chant starts. He then calls for the crowd to simmer down a bit, pauses, ah, here come the boos. He continually asks for silence, then tells us to wait, somewhat silently then runs to out of the ring and to the back. He then comes out with a T-Shirt Gun. He loads it up with a red shirt, looks like a generic RAW one, then looks ready to shoot it to the crowd. The crowd goes pretty wild for the shirt, as we get the fighting cheers. Jericho drops the gun then grabs the camera from one of the cameramen and films the audience from the ring. He does a ful 180 then gives it back and grabs the mic. Jericho’s first words on the mic are….well, he doesn’t say anything quite yet. He points to the screen and we get a nice video package that starts with his debut, a few championship wins, his Undisputed Title win, the intro to the highlight reel, his hug and nut kick to HBK, and carious other Jericho clips including his most recent suit-wearing returned and finally a clip of the promo vids and his most recent return.
Back to Jericho, and he is smiling. He puts his finger to his lips, asks the crowd to shhhhh then we get….
“This Sunday at the Royal Rumble….”
And the crowd goes wild!
“It’s going to be the end of the world as you know it.”
An updated video package for the Rumble gives us a look “By the Numbers.” It gets me so excited that I’m ready to buy the damned PPV. PPV-Party at my house! WOOT WOOT!!!
We’re in the back! Ryder is still taped up, talking at Eve. Foley comes by to say that Kane is an animal but deep down, he’s just a human being (way to destroy character building, Foley! GEEZ!!! lol). Eve says that he shouldn’t be competing. Ryder says he has no choice, he’s gotta do it. Cena comes in from the back and acts like the ex-girlfriend that won’t leave. Ryder tells Cena to stay out of it, Bro.
Match 2: Falls Count Anywhere Match – Kane vs. Zack Ryder
Kane does his firey ringposts pre-match, which means this most likely won’t be ending in the ring, right? Ryder attacks quickly with a kick, some rights and a toss to the corner. Kane tosses him aside then kicks him in the ribs. Ryder slips out onto the apron, chokes Kane up but Kane retorts with a big boot, sending Ryder to the announce table. Kane with a kick to the gut then a hard right and a kick to the same spot. Kane lifts him up and sends him back first to the ring post. Another, then a body slam onto the outside! Ouch. Kane then toses Ryder, back first, into the steps. A spear into the announce table and an uppercut as we go to break.
We are back and Kane is sending Ryder ribs-first into the barricade then the apron. King likens Eve being outside the ring with AJ doing the same, in a nice nod to Smackdown storytelling. Kane is now near the apron and lifts Ryder up, dropping him on the stairs. Kane pins for 1…2..Ryder kicks out!!! Kane smiles. Kane does the hand over the mouth hold for a bit then sends him over the barricade, into the crowd. Kane with an uppercut. He sends Ryder into a box then hits another uppercut and another hit to the ribs. Kane takes Ryder throughout the crowd towards the bottom part of the stage. Ryder grabs a briefcase and hits Kane over the head, but Kane comes back with another uppercut. Kane rips the tape of Ryder then starts in on him with some rights. Kane sends him atop the stage (which is quite close to the floor this time around). A hard kick to the gut and we are near the W sign that hates Morrison. Kane slams Ryder into the base headfirst, busting it open. Kane kicks the thigh then stomps the gut. Kane pins again, but Ryder kicks out. Kane chokeslams the hell out of Ryder through the stage then stalks his way towards Eve.
No Contest, I Assume (**)
This took a bit too long, but I suppose it got the point across…Kane is a beast.
We get some seriousness as Cena comes out and Eve runs towards him. The refs and officials are checking on the fallen Ryder, as they do the stretcher job.
We come back to ths how, and they are still pulling Ryder out of the hole that he was dropped into. Eve and Cena look on, worried as they send him to the back. We follow them all to the way to the back where they put Ryder into the ambulance, and I half expect Kane to be the driver. Eve looks at Cena and says that it’s all his fault. He’s done enough. She is going with Zack. Cena gets all sad panda and here is Josh Mathews to point out the obvious. Cena doesn’t say anything, just seethes. He pushes Mathews away then looks directly into the camera and gives the best impression of Ghostbusters 2’s Vigo as we go to break.
Back, yet again, with King and Cole, letting us know Ryder is headed to a nearby medical facility, in case you were wondering. Jinder Mahal is in the middle of the ring, already as Sheamus’s music hits.
Match 3: Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
Lockup to start until we get some corner work. Jinder with some knees but Sheamus fires back with some rights and a body slam. Sheamus drops an elbow then pins for 1…2..NO. Here comes Wade Barrett as Sheamus beats on the chest of Jinder. Wade makes his way to the booth. Sheamus with a clothesline then he heads up top. He stares at Wade as Jinder comes up and arm drags Sheamus from up top. Jinder with a high flying knee to Sheamus’s face then a pin for 1..2..NO! Jinder with another knee, this time to the side of Sheamus as he hangs over the rope. Pin again for 1…3..NO! Jinder with a half nelson/chinlock. Sheamus fights out with some rights then we get the double axehandle and a nice ass firemans carry into a front roll. Sheamus with the Celtic Cross, but Jinder gets out of it, only to meet the boot of Sheamus as he hits the Brogue Kick.
Winner: Sheamus (**)
What the hell are they doing with Jinder? I guess it doesn’t matter, as Sheamus disposed of him quite quickly. Average match
Barrett goes to leave, but Sheamus calls him in the ring. Barrett gets to the apron, then hops off and walks up the ramp. Sheamus grabs the mic and says that this image needs a good look because come Sunday, he will be the only one standing in the middle of the ring at the Rumble.
We’re in the back with Mean Mug Miz and Mathews. Miz says that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Every person that has crossed The Miz has seen their careers disinegrate. When you forget your place and turn on Miz, you become irrelevant. He will win the Rumble. He will headline WrestleMania for the second year in a row. He is Number 1 of all time—here’s Truth with glasses and a clipboard. He says he is a market researcher, and according to their data, Miz is Number 1. He is #1 Annoying, whining, and WEIO (Better known as What Else Is On). He is WWE’s #1 Jackass. Miz tells Truth that he is sick of it! Johnny Ace and David Otunga come up and Ace tells both men to shut up. He’s tryin to train. He says that whoever loses in the match tonight will be the #1 entry in the Royal Raumble Match. Truth QUACKS just as Miz leaves. That made no sense, but made me chuckle.
Up Next, Funkasaurus!!!!!
Regal is at the booth and I feel this is the perfect time to remind you where Regal got his dancing start:
Rather than Lillian or anyone else doing the announcing, we get the Diva Dancers Naomi and Random Dancer #2 announce him. Brodus comes out in a white track suit this time, and black hat, still lookin as Funky as ever! He’s nearly perfected the dino claws and added a bit of a moonwalk into his dancing repertoire. Ah, here’s Heath Slater, laughing at the spectacle. Yes, Heath will go SQAUSH!
Match 4: Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater
Slater hits the ropes and Brodus drops him with a right shoulder. Slater yells a bit as Brodus hits the ropes. Ah, but there’s Heath with a dropkick. Brodus with a T-Bone suplex and a crush into the corner, followed by the Ah, Funk It What the Funk and a pin for the win.
Winner: Brodus Clay (*)
I recall complaining about the continuous Squashes Brodus had during his Superstar run, and they seem to be heading that way again. I want to see the guy wrestle. I won’t complain too much, however, considering how awesome this gimmick is.
Match 4: Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
Winner Will be #1 Entry into the Royal Rumble
Lockup to start as The Miz sends Truth to the corner. They roll out of it, circling the ring until Miz hits a knee to the gut. Miz with a kick then a whip, reversed by Truth into a back elbow and a hit to the chest. The Miz rolls out but here comes Truth just to clothesline Miz to the ground. Truth tosses Miz in and goes through the ropes, but The miz kicks Truth then stomps him on the mat. Truth with a press and starts with the rights! Whip but there’s The Miz with a kick to the gut and a suplex onto the ropes! Truth is on the apron and Miz hits a shoulderblock, sending him to the outside.
We are back with The Miz pinning for 2! Abdominable Stretch by The Miz.Truth flips out of it and rests up in the corner. Miz runs towards him, right into a kick, then another. Miz goes for a clothesline, but Truth hits the ropes, ducks it, right, another, gets a rollup for 1..2…No!!! Front faced Suplex for 1…2…NO!! Truth hits the ropes and goes for a scissors kick, but Miz goes for a neckbreaker, only for Truth to hit a backslide for a pin for 1…2..NO! Miz goes for the neckbreaker again and hits it, then a pin for 1…2….NO! Miz calls for the SCF but Truth drags Miz out of it. Truth goes for a—no, Miz hits a DDT and a pin for 1..2..Nope! Miz mounts Truth and gets some lefts in then stomps Truth a bit before going on the prowl, only for Truth to hit Pay-Dirt…and a win! Whoa! I didn’t see that coming.
Winner: R-Truth (**1/2)
Everything before the commercial was someone clunky and a bit boring. After the break, they picked up the speed and kicked some ass. The win came out of nowhere, however.
According to an update from the medical facilities, Zack Ryder has a broken back…
Backstage, Johnny Ace is in a robe. Otunga comes into the room and says there’s a fax for him and he should read it before the match. He’s not going to like it. Johnny Ace reads it, looks distraught, then bites his lip as we fade to Punk heading towards the ring.
As Roberts announces Laurinitis and Punk awaits, we come to the realization that it may not come….ah but here comes Mr. Laurinitis AND his shirt says “FUTURE ENDEAVORED!” Hahaha. He’s got a microphone, though. He says that he has some unfortunate news that he wants to share with the Universe and the talent. He recieved a fax from the Board of Directors. Otunga reads from the fax. They don’t like what Ace had to say last week. The board has decided that the status of him as GM of RAW will be officially under review. Next week on RAW, there will be a formal job evaluation to determine whether or not he will keep his job. The evaluation will be conducted by:
Ace says that what this means is…but Punk interrupts and grabs the mic. He says that what it means is that he’s out of a job if he tries to screw Punk. It also means that there’s nothing stopping Punk from knocking Ace’s teeth out of his face. Ace says that he is right and this is his wake up call. He needs to take this time to apologize to everyone and Punk for any wrong doing he has done while in his tenure. Punk says this was all just a misunderstanding? Like last week, Foley not being allowed in the Rumble is a misunderstanding? Ace changes his mind on that and allows Foley in it. He also says he was going to call the match right down the middle the entire time, but only said he wasn’t because Punk made fun of him. He was mad. Punk says if Triple H has inherited any of his father’s traits, he hopes it’s one and he hopes he tells Ace “You’re Fired!” He says he’s been here for 10 years and took the WWE out of the dark ages with JR. He says that unfortunately, tonight’s match will not happen due to the circumstances, but he has a suitable replacement in David Otunga
Otunga cheap shots Punk then lays in on him hard. Otunga goes to untie the bowtie, then Punk knocks him down and locks in the Anaconda Vice and Otunga taps, quickly! Punk gets all crazy eyed in the face of Ace and Otunga tries to attack. Punk with a back kick then a high kick to the head of Otunga, sending him out of the ring. Ace extends his hand for a shake and Punk is lookin all kinds of cray cray. Yup, here it comes! Go 2 Sleep to Johnny Ace!!!
As Punk celebrates, Ziggler comes from behind and hits the Zig Zag!!!
Credit: Tony Acero