Question; WHEN DID TNA IMPACT START BOOKING WWE SHOWS? Let’s break it down, angles we don’t care about getting stretched WAY past the point we care, angles we might care about getting cut short, face/heel turns out of nowhere, any of this sounding familiar? We’re gonna look at last night’s RAW to find out.

The show opened with a special Veteran’s Day tribute to our military from John Cena, as a voice over; followed by a recap of last week with a dramatic voice over similar to “TMZ” or a promo for a soap opera.  The voice over recapped the current major storylines including Lawler returning after a heart attack, Vicki’s crusade to embarrass AJ/Cena, C.M. Punk holding the WWE title for 358 days and facing Cena tonight, and Brad Maddox screwing Ryback and facing him tonight for a $1,000,000 contract.

Yes, WWE is using a dramatic voice over guy just like TNA Impact, just like TMZ, and every sleazy tabloid show.  Why? I don’t know.  I probably won’t in this life time.

RANDY ORTON DEF DOLPH ZIGGLER – Fast-paced back and forth match-up with a lot of high-impact spots in a short span of time.  Match ends when Alberto Del Rio tries to distract Orton with a run in, and Orton side steps Ziggler’s fame-asser, getting the pin with a roll up.

ADR and Ziggler (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) gave Orton a beat down until WWE Intercontinental champion made the save.  Teddy Long, Senior Advisor to Smackdown GM Booker T, came out and made this a tag team match (per usual.)

DEL RIO/ZIGGLER DEF ORTON/KINGSTON – Interesting moment when Kingston had a pin on Del Rio.  It seemed to me the ref had to stop short on his count because Ziggler was out of position and late w/the save.  Ziggler-Rio get the win after Rodriguez distracts Kingston and Del Rio hits an inziguri to the back of the head for a pin.

Any reason they just couldn’t book a tag team match in the first place?  Why waste the time?

(I’m guessing because SOMEBODY wasn’t willing to job out; coughing noises, RANDY ORTON, coughing noises.)

We were reminded of Jerry Lawler’s return later tonight, and shown Vicki Guerro making her way to the ring from backstage.

We returned from break with Dolph and Vicki in the ring, discussing the definition of “Scandal,” and Dolph staying out to find the truth.  We recapped Vicki’s video “evidence” with Dolph riffing on Cena and AJ.  Vicki ordered AJ to come out to explain herself and kept demanding AJ admit that she’s having an affair as the crowd vehemently chanted “Shut up Vicki!” AJ admitted only to being “friends” with John and made a joke about Vicki throwing her “considerable” weight around.  Vicki responded by playing voice mails from AJ’s phone, each one sounding like an intimate talk with Cena.  AJ insisted they were faked and Ziggler asked if those nights in Cena’s hotel room were more disappointing than not speaking to him anymore.  Cena came out but was stopped short by AJ, who slapped Ziggler right in the face followed by a big right hand by Cena.  Ziggler and Vicki run off as we were reminded that Cena will face Punk in the main event tonight.

1.) WHY IS THIS STILL A THING!? Vicki HAS what she wanted, power over RAW, not that she’s using it for anything.  And what good is attacking Cena doing her or Ziggler? You could say it’s strictly for attention, AND YOU’D BE GIVING US MORE MOTIVE THAT THE PEOPLE WRITING THIS DAMN SHOW DID!

2.) WHY IS THIS A “SCANDAL!?” Cena is divorced; AJ is not GM of RAW anymore, TRIPLE H MARRIED HIS BOSSES DAUGHTER WHILE HE WAS STILL AN ACTIVE WRESTLER! If they are having a “thing,” WHERE IS THE CONFLICT? WHAT IS THE BASIS OF VICKI’S COMPLAINT!? Vicki has nothing to gain here.  She’s being an abusive authority figure for the sake of being an abusive authority figure.  It’s annoying, tired, and played out.

3.) WHAT DOES ZIGGLER HAVE TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS? I don’t understand why Ziggler is helping Vicki take jabs at AJ and Cena, since Cena isn’t facing Ziggler at Survivor Series.

We get another look at World heavyweight Champion Big Show jumping Sheamus and Stephen Regal in a pub on last week’s Smackdown before going to an ad for IAVA.com, an organization dedicated to Iraqi/Afghanistan war veterans.

We came back to AJ and Cena backstage talking about Vicki and Dolph persecuting AJ over something that never happened, or could happen.  AJ asked “never could happen?” A suddenly tongue tied Cena left the scene with AJ smiling at him. (Author’s note to Cena: RUN! FOR GOD’S SAKE RUN!)

WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION BIG SHOW DEF WILLIAM REGAL – Sadly, little more than a squash as it was mostly Regal selling Show’s offense and getting in brief moments of resistance.  After the match, Show threatened to KO Regal with the big right hand, however Sheamus made the save, getting Show down and putting the boots to him.  Show runs off as Sheamus looks after Regal.

KAITLIN DEF LAYLA – We went right into this match from the break.  The match barley went five minutes until Kaitlin caught Layla in her arms.  After what I thought was a botched slam (I was wrong,) Kaitlyn hits a reverse DDT for the three-count.  Divas Champ Eve Torres, guest commentator at ringside, stands up and we get a stare-down.  After that, we get another look at Lawler having a heart attack and an announcement of his big return next.

We came back to Michael Cole and Jim Ross in the ring, introducing Jerry Lawler.  Lawler made his way into the ring and gave both Cole and JR a hug.  Lawler thanked the crowd for their support and compared his situation to the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in that a near-death experience let him see how much he was loved.  At that moment, WWE heavyweight champion C.M. Punk came out with Heyman.  Punk mentioned how glad he was that Lawler left the ring before Punk beat him to death “again.” He accused Lawler of “disrespectful,” “bad taste”, by way of trying to go toe-to-toe with the champion at 62 years old.  He said shame on you to the crowd for blaming him for Lawler’s attack, and that it’s nobody’s fault but Lawler’s.  He reminded us all that he’s been champion 358 days and is now 9th longest reigning champion of all time.  Lawler jokes about Punk’s reign being on “life support,” and Heyman responded by faking a heart attack.  After Punk “saved” Heyman, Mick Foley came out to call Punk on the carpet.  Punk claimed that since he got pulled out of the Survivor Series tag match, he and Foley had no business with each other, and Foley should concentrate on filling the “gaping hole” in his team.  Foley responded by saying the WWE universe would decide who would get that spot late tonight.  Punk suggested to Foley changing the team name to “Team Worthless,” in reference to him, his team, and the fans.  Foley cut him off sharply, and let Punk in on a little secret about Lawler, “HE WAS DEAD!” He went on to say Punk didn’t care about lessons or respect.  Punk referred to Foley as a “goof” who jumped off his roof. Foley informed Punk he would be the “special guest enforcer” in his match w/John Cena.  Foley leaves with a “Have a Nice Day,” for Punk.  We were shown a graphic confirming we would in fact have the option via Raw-active Twitter poll, and we went to break with a look at Brad Maddox.

We came back to Punk yelling at Heyman to “Fix it,” referring to Punk’s problems with Cena, Foley, Ryback, and the Maddox issue.  After that, we go to ringside for the respective entrances of Sin Cara and Mysterio.  Lawler was back at ringside.  Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, Primo, Epico, and the Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neal/Darren Young,) were in the ring.

8 MAN TAG: MYSTERIO, SIN CARA, GABRIEL/KIDD DEF. THE PRIME TIME PLAYERS/PRIMO & EPICO W/ROSA MENDEZ – Good solid trading of back and forth tag team offense to start off.  Ricardo Rodriguez came out to give Rosa a note, upsetting Primo before we went to break.  If I remember correctly, they hinted at a Del Rio/Rosa paring a few years ago, when Del Rio first came in.  It’s nice to see them finally resolving that loose end.

Match ends with Mysterio hitting the 619, and Gabriel hitting the 450 on Young for the pin.  The match is followed by an ad for the National Guard, and a camera shot of Ohio National guard members in the audience, along with a “Thank You,” from WWE.

Backstage: Brad Maddox prepped for his match when Heyman approached him.  We went to break as they walked off.

We came back to a promo for “Fandango” and a backstage segment with Ziggler and Miz giving each other a hard time.  Foley steps in and Ziggler walks off.  Foley gives Ziggler a “hi,” from Amy Schumer.  Miz asks Foley for a spot on the RAW-active ballot and Foley agrees.  Our choices to vote for via Twitter were #Santino, #Ryder, #Miz.

Now is it me, or should this have gotten WAY more build up?  Wouldn’t it have made sense for Ziggler to have been needling Miz about his losses over the last few weeks, building up to Miz wanting to settle things with him and seeing this as his opportunity?  And why didn’t Foley come to Miz with the offer? Wouldn’t that have gotten Miz some credit?

R-TRUTH DEF. TENSAI – U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro came out to call everyone fat and rude before joining the announce team.  During the match, Cole and Lawler made a big deal of Cesaro carrying a satchel.  Cesaro explained it was there to carry whatever he needed.  R-truth dominated the match with high-spot offense and got the pin w/a “Little Jimmy.” Truth and Cesaro traded jabs at ringside, including a joke by Truth about Cesaro being “Europe in my face.”

After that, we get a look at the new WWE 13, video game, featuring Ryback destroying a player created Brad Maddox.

After a break we get a recap of the Brad Maddox situation leading up to tonight’s “Million Dollar Challenge,” as well as a recap of Vicki and Dolph tormenting Cena and AJ, AND a recap of Foley, Ziggler, Miz.

RYBACK DEF BRAD MADDOX – As Maddox came out, we saw an ambulance pull up to the side of the stage and Brad get visibly rattled.  Brad walked to the ring as we were treated to a PIP promo of Brad claiming no one will forget his name.  Ryback came out next, followed by a stretcher.  The entire match is Ryback decimating Maddox, with Maddox getting ZERO offense.  The match ends with Ryback getting the Shell-shock and the pin.  After the match, medics try to take Maddox out on the stretcher but Ryback attacks, dumping Maddox off the stretcher and tossing him like garbage into the ambulance.

So, that whole thing with Heyman meant NOTHING!? That whole “million dollar challenge thing” goes NOWHERE? WHAT WAS THE POINT!?

Here’s another thing, let’s play this out on paper.  A desperate young man, who’s had setback after setback, finally has a chance at his dream job and a million dollar contract, if he can beat an unstoppable monster.  As he makes his way to the arena, the monster’s boss sends out an ambulance and a stretcher to intimidate him.  Now if this were anywhere else in the world beside WWE RAW, who would YOU think was the “good guy?” And I know what Maddox did at HitC, what I’m saying is this makes Ryback look more like a heel than it does Maddox.  And since Maddox lost, it comes off anti-climatic.  The resolution falls flat.

SHEAMUS DEF. DAVID OTUNGA – We get a recap of Sheamus going after Big Show earlier tonight.  While Sheamus destroys Otunga, Regal watches on the monitor in the back.  Sheamus gets the pin with a combo of “White Noise,” and the “Brogue Kick.”

Backstage: Big Show attacks Regal.

We came back from break.  Josh Mathews updates us on Regal’s condition.  It’s a concussion and maybe a broken jaw.  We go to a promo for the Wounded Warrior Project, an outfit designed to help returning soldiers with medical and psychological injuries.

Backstage: Kane makes his way to the ring when Daniel Bryan confronts him.  They argue about Kane tagging with someone besides him with Bryan playing the role of jealous girlfriend.  Bryan suggests going to Foley to protest but Kane just disappears on him.  Bryan goes into his “NO!” routine much to the crowd’s delight.

WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPION KANE AND THE MIZ DEF. TEAM RHODES SCHOLARS (CODY RHODES/DAMIAN SANDOW) – Miz wins the RAW-active twitter poll to be Kane’s partner, and the crowd seems happy about it.  Daniel Bryan comes out, seemingly to cheer on Kane.  During the match, Bryan managed to distract Miz, setting up an opening for the Rhodes Scholars to take over.  The match ends with Bryan going after Miz but Miz sending him crashing into Rhodes.  Kane gets the pin with the choke-slam, and Bryan and Miz argue over Kane.

I just wrote that.

Yeah.

Daniel Bryan is now Kane’s jealous girlfriend.  I’m just moving on….

We take a look at WWE’s annual tribute to the troops, and our main event is up next.

JOHN CENA DEF. WWE CHAMPION C.M. PUNK – Foleys out first as “special enforcer,” followed by Punk w/Heyman, and John Cena.  The crowd is actually split between a man who’s granted a record 300 Make-a-Wish foundation visits and a man who mocked someone for having a heart attack.

We came back from a break to find Punk in control of the match.  Point of interest is Punk applying a “new/improved” version of the “Anaconda Vice,” down on the mat, hands locked behind Cena’s head w/the left leg hooked under the chin.  Cena eventually escapes and takes over.  Heyman runs in but is caught off by Cena, and Foley drags Heyman out.  Punk tries to limp away from the match but Ryback is out and chases him back into Cena’s clutches.  Cena gets the pin w/the AA.  The match ends with Cena and Ryback staring each other down, both clutching the belt, with Punk on the outside, looking like he’s gonna cry.

You know, this DOES work in terms of story.  We have two of the most powerful forces in the WWE on a collision course, with the defending champion either caught in the middle, or getting shut out altogether.  The problem is I don’ see it as a story; I see it as THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW WWE DOES THIS.  I often tell myself that WWE is trying to book Punk like Ric Flair, the clever heel champ who always finds a way to weasel out of losing the title, but then I remember Flair was never treated like a prison bitch.

In conclusion, this show didn’t really do anything to sell me on Survivor Series this Sunday.  All they did was rush through angles they failed to build up properly over the past month.  Do you know what my advice to WWE is?

Fire Russo, or whoever’s playing him.

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