Sunday, January 22, 2012

Raw 1-16-12


1. Epico & Primo v. Air Boom for Tag Team Championship - 3 out of 5
2. Jack Swagger v. Zack Ryder for US Championship - 3 out of 5
3. Kelly Kelly & Alicia Fox v. The Bella Twins (feat. Perez Hilton) - 1 out of 5
4. R-Truth v. Wade Barrett v. The Miz v. Sheamus (Over-the-top-rope challenge) - 2 out of 5
5. John Cena v. Jack Swagger - 4 out of 5
6. Brodus Clay v. JTG - 2 out of 5
7. Mark Henry, David Otunga & Dolph Ziggler v. Chris Jericho, CM Punk & Daniel Bryan - 4 out of 5

Let's get this out of the way, and talk about Johnny Ace's full-on heel turn at the end of the show. This moment could not have been more perfectly timed, I think. Mr. Excitement has spent weeks building himself up as the unpredictable General Manager of Raw, and against our wills, we have fallen in love with him. Somewhere between the walk-out and now, we've gone from saying, "Ugh, why is this guy on our TV? He sucks!" to becoming, as he's dubbed his followers on Twitter, #futureendeavheads. Mehe and I were at the mall recently, discussing Big Johnny's storyline, and we just ended up scratching our heads wondering how we made that journey. It wasn't that we weren't expecting him to turn eventually; that much was certainly inevitable. It's just that we've had such a good time in recent weeks playing the "will he or won't he?" game. No, it's not even that. You know what it is? He's got the charm that every asshole ex-boyfriend relies on to hook a girl in. It's the way he smiles, and tries to be funny in a way that, even though it's not funny, it IS. It's the way he speaks so reassuringly to the cast and to the fans that reminds us that his character is of the bumbling, incompetent leader. That's the reason we've been playing this game. This guy is clearly not capable, so maybe he really is just that much of an idiot that he didn't MEAN to screw Punk, it just happened.

Well, kids, those days are gone. At the end of the show, Laurinaitis came out and screwed Punk over once again. This was more than Punk could take, and he called Johnny out on it before storming out of the ring, vowing not to be screwed out of his title. A visibly shaken Mr. Ace tossed his invisible mullet, reminded us all who he was, and then, after being questioned by Mick Foley, admitted that he feels disrespected and does indeed intend to screw Punk out of his title. Admitted is the wrong word. Boasted would probably be more accurate. Admitted has a connotation of guilt attached to it that took one look at Johnny Ace and ran screaming in the other direction.

Moving on, with the changing hands of the US Title from Zack Ryder to Jack Swagger, and the use of that storyline to further the Cena/Kane "Embrace the Hate" story, it seems official that the US Title is a joke, and that is not changing anytime soon. While Cody Rhodes has done amazimg things for the IC Title, there doesn't seem to be anybody who can step up to the plate for the other midcard title. Dolph Ziggler is amazing, and he could have done so much for that title when he held it, but he was clearly shooting up too fast for it. Zack Ryder is well-loved, but he's not big enough to make it that important. And Jack Swagger? Just fucking forget it.

The Divas segment was a joke. The over-the-top-rope challenge (set by Teddy Long, holla holla!) was pointless other than to remind us that the Royal Rumble is around the corner. Brodus Clay was fun to watch, but a squash is a squash.

The good about Raw? I am now eagerly looking forward to it every single week.

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