Well, hello. It’s 1am! It’s Sky Sports 3 HD LIIIIIIIVE! It’s gravely voiced pitch man giving us the usual blah blah blah about flashing images… that means… it’s RAW time! Yes folks, I’m going to live blog along with tonight’s Raw.
01:01 it’s a promo video, plugging the return of The Rock. A man who loves the WWE so much, he vanishes for months on end, yet still calls it… home. Quick round up of his promise to fight the WWE Champion at the Rumble, and CM Punk’s part in this, and away we go…
01:02 Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaahn Cena arrives in his regulation gear. Commentators are suspiciously quiet, as we recap last week’s poop drop on Dolph and AJ. Still no commentary as Cena begins his obligatory promo.
01:03 Tonight we have hyperactive, happy go lucky Cena, so this is just gonna drag and drag and drag…
01:04 Cena is bigging up The Rock, and feeling the electricity. This leads into Cena beginning to tell how he’s entered the Rumble… but wait! He’s interrupted! Dolph, AJ, and Big E are HERE TO SHOW THE WORLD.
01:05 Dolph gets to speak, then AJ cuts in to whine, not before dropping the bomb that she calls Dolph “Ziggy”. AJ is still whining. Head tilting level – medium.
01:07 AJ calls Cena a small man, and Cena goes into OTT mode and accuses AJ of making a 6th grade wiener joke. Cena is trying to get a Mexican wave going, for some apparent reason. Expect #CutForCena to trend on Twitter soon.
01:08 Oh no. Cena is channelling and name checking Andrew Dice Clay and begins “There once was a man from Nantucket…” before Ziggy interrupts again. Yeesh.
01:09 Ziggy has a hell of a black eye, and declares he has entered the Rumble too. Must be about time for another interruption soon?
01:10 Cena says AJ is rubbing off on Ziggy and Biggy (my name for their tag team) but then says he’s not touching that one. BIGGY SPEAKS!
01:10 Biggy says he has the answer for Cena, and it’s on.
01:11 AJ is pulling VEWY ANGWY Marvin The Martian face on the stage. We go to break, still sans commentary as Ziggy, Biggy and AJ walk slowly down the ramp.
01:14 We’re back. Still no commentary. Michael Cole hasn’t sounded as good for months.
01:15 It’s Cena vs. Ziggy, as Biggy stands at ringside, stoically. AJ is there too, doing what AJ does,
01:16 Ziggy and Cena have a nice easy chemistry in the ring. I saw them at a house show and they had a great match. Meanwhile, AJ is in ANGRY GLARE mode at ringside as Ziggy stomps on Cena and goes into his sit-up routine.
01:17 Cena mounts a comeback, and I see MOVES OF DOOM.
01:19 Biggy gets on the apron and cheap shots Cena, as AJ walks about laughing. Or drunk, who can tell? Break #2 of the show ALREADY.
01:22 We’re back, and Ziggy has Cena in a headlock. Exciting stuff.
01:24 Michael Cole: “John Cena can power out of anything” Including marriage?
01:25 AJ is on the ropes tilting her head dramatically to distract the referee, and Cena long enough for Ziggy to take over. She doesn’t get as lucky the second time she tries it, slaps Cena in the face in full view of the ref, and AJ and Biggy are sent to the back.
01:26 Ziggy complains, and we have VINTAGE CENA until Ziggy counters for a near fall.
01:27 This is turning into a hell of a match, Ziggy and Cena are putting on a really good TV match, Ziggy looks like he’s more than holding his own. Finally having the trigger pulled on his push?
01:28 Ziggy comes off the top for the cross body, they do the catch-and-roll-through spot, Ziggy counters an AA with a super kick for another near fall!
01:29 Ziggy and Cena hit duelling punches in the “Boo! Yay!” spot until Ziggy clamps on the sleeper.
01:30 The REFEREE IS DOWN as Cena throws off Ziggy. Cena locks on the STF, loses a shoe, but here’s Biggy! Biggy picks up Cena, hits his finisher and escapes before the replacement referee arrives.
01:31 Cena kicks out of Ziggy’s pin, pops up, hit’s a HUGE looking AA and takes the win. That was a hell of a TV match!
01:32 Cena tosses his shoe to Michael Cole. That shoe will become TNA Television Champion by the end of the month.
01:33 Hype for tonight’s TLC match with Ryback and Punk, and a Rock promo… and here’s Eve for a Diva’s match. Joy. Break #3
01:38 We’re back and Kaitlyn is in the ring for another title shot. This’ll be fun.
01:40 They’re fighting over head and leg locks. The crowd is dead. DEAD.
01:41 The ref tells Kaitlyn to tie her shoe lace??? Eve takes advantage. Wow. She waves. Nobody cares. Cole compares her to the Duchess of Cambridge. Oh dear.
01:42 Kaitlyn is taking over and hits… something… for a near fall. Still, nobody cares. Cole is calling her “The Hybrid Diva” as Eve’s fake tan is rubbing off and staining the ring.
01:43 Eve takes her belt. Sorry, title. Sorry, Championship… and escapes through the crowd for a count out. Still, nobody cares.
01:44 Kaitlyn is on the turnbuckle yelling and staring at Eve, who looks flustered near the stage. Guess what? Nobody cares. Break #4
01:48 And we’re back with PICTURES OF BUILDINGS. Woo. Still more over than Eve and Kaitlyn.
01:49 Santino is talking to Ricky Steamboat. Wade Barrett interrupts, because he’s the Intercontinental champion and he’s fighting Santino TONIGHT. Steamboat will be in Santino’s corner, and still cuts a better promo than a LOT of people on the roster.
01:50 Here’s Randy Orton, who’s also entered himself into the Rumble. More importantly, here’s the 3 Man Band and they’ve entered too, baybeh! Tonight, it’s Orton vs. Slater. Oh dear.
01:52 Match time! Kane & Daniel Bryan make their way to the ring for a non title match. Yes! Yes! Yes!
01:54 Daniel Bryan is on a turnbuckle attempting to get the crowd to stop shouting “Yes!” as we go to break #5 – Daniel Bryan isn’t far from being the most over guy on the roster, seriously. Huge reaction for him.
01:57 We’re back, and Team Rhodes Scholars and Cody’s Moustache are already in the ring.
01:58 Meanwhile, on Twitter, JBL is arguing with soccer fans. Surreal.
01:59 Bryan and Rhodes are slick in the ring. I honestly don’t know if there’s anyone better than Bryan in the ring in the WWE right now.
02:00 Damien Sandow is “The Lord Of Literacy” according to Michael Cole. Oh dear.
02:01 ELBOW OF DISDAIN! “You’re Welcome!” I love that guy!
02:02 Cole is rambling about the Sandow family being advisers to Presidents through the years.
02:02 In the ring, Kane has the Hot Tag and is running through The Rhodes Scholars. Bryan gets involved and we have some high flyin’
02:03 And we have the first mention of Daniel Bryan’s self-adopted nickname of The Dazzler. Bryan is selling his knee like crazy at this point.
02:04 A Cross Rhodes nails the win for Team Rhodes Scholars. Guess it’s their turn to be #1 contenders this month, then?
02:05 RECAP TIME! We get a plug for tonight’s TLC match too. Meanwhile, Randy Orton is STARING and WALKING! Break #6
02:10 We’re back with the 3MB air concert-ing in the ring. That’s all ended when Randy Orton makes his arrival to GLARE at the camera, with ADDED STARING and SLOW WALKING.
02:11 Can’t help but wonder who’s bag did Randy Orton shit in to end up facing Heath Slater?
02:13 Orton is down on the outside, and McIntyre and Mahal lay in the weakest, lightest kicks ever, just on the off chance they connect and upset the mighty Randy.
02:16 Fairly typical Orton match. Lots of moody glares, and all the greatest hits. RKO gives him the win, and 3MB attack afterwards. Orton, naturally, destroys them all.
02:17 Orton poses, and we hit Break #7
02:21 LOOPING RAW LOGO OF DOOM and we’re back with Ricky Steamboat attempting to copy Santino’s power walk to the ring. Wade is in the ring already.
02:23 This crowd is just sitting on their hands, obviously awaiting the arrival of The Rock. Not even Santino is getting a reaction, and he’s actually getting offence in on Barrett too.
02:24 Barrett avoids the Cobra, hit’s the Bull Hammer and that’s all she wrote. Cole sneaks in a Briscoe Brothers Body Shop plug for the old schoolers. Barrett has a staredown with Steamboat, but a strategic removal of his jacket sees off Barrett.
02:26 Sheamus is backstage being all happy and cheery and philosophical with Matt Striker. Sheamus stops to taunt “3MBieber”. Sheamus challenges 3MB to something or other, sings a few words of Oh Danny Boy and I’m losing the will to live.
02:28 Break #9 while someone tries to replace the air in the arena that last segment just sucked out.
02:32 We’re back with Antonio Cesaro waving a US Flag, and in the ring are The Great Khali, Hornswoggle, and Natalya.
02:33 Oh no, The Miz is on commentary. I like The Miz, but not face Miz. Ugh.
02:34 Miz is making funny voices and calling people “Weenie” – there is no point to this face turn. Will it ever end?
02:35 Meanwhile, Cesaro is doing his best, but Khali is horrible. Simply horrible.
02:36 Cesaro hit’s a beautiful springboard spinning uppercut, and lifts Khali into the Neutraliser. That was something else.
02:37 Cesaro celebrates by pointing at Miz. Miz makes some dumb faces and a stupid “bravo” gesture. STOP IT.
02:38 Backstage, it’s Heyman. And Brad Maddox. There’s a promo. Maddox is trying his best, but he’s being outclassed and out talked by the master. Heyman rules. Maddox looks bemused, as usual.
02:39 Oh, and here’s Smilin’ Sheamus. Dear lord, this show just goes on and on and on… Break #10
02:44 Back, and it’s Sheamus against Jinder Mahal. Will to live is rapidly vanishing.
02.45 Oh dear GOD I just realised there’s another 90 minutes of this. Why, Vince, why?
02:46 Sheamus puts Jinder’s hands onto his own arse and acts mortified. Cole laughs like it’s the funniest thing ever. This match is almost as painful as the Diva match from earlier.
02:47 Sheamus gets knocked to the outside and OH I DON’T GIVE A DAMN. He’s going to win and 3MB are going to look like idiots. Just end this already. Oh wait, we can’t because we have 3 hours to fill every bloody week.
02:48 Stuff happened, Sheamus is beating 3MB on his own, all at once.
02.49 The end is nigh, as White Noise is followed by the Brogue Kick and that’s thankfully it.
02:51 The build up to the TLC match begins, as we get a video recap of CM Punk’s year long reign.
02:54 The belt is lowered into place with what is usually CAGE LOWERING MUSIC, Break #11
02:58 We’re back, with more pictures of buildings, and a shot of NFL coach John Gruden at ringside. Meanwhile, we recap Cena vs. Ziggy from last year, or 2 hours ago, whichever feels shorter.
02:59 We’re getting the TLC match underway, and Punk is out first, accompanied by Paul Heyman, as usual. Punk walks under a ladder, much to Heyman’s horror.
03:00 Punk is jumping and stomping around the ring. The knee looks in good shape.
03:01 Punk is grinning maniacally into the camera as Ryback’s music hits, and here comes the challenger.
03:02 While they get underway, let me just recommend the CM Punk episode of the Nerdist podcast. Great listening, Punk is entertaining as hell and it’s a great show.
03:03 The “Goldberrrrrrrrrrg” chants have started already.
03:06 Ryback hoists up Punk into a delayed suplex, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the British Bulldog, and dumps Punk out of it onto a ladder in the ring. Great looking spot.
03:07 Punk is going to town outside the ring with a chair, as we go for Break #12
03:11 we’re back, and Ryback is dominating Punk for the time being, and we have our first table of the night.
03:12 Ryback throws punk over the announce table, but Punk comes back and starts wailing on Ryback with a chair, and goes to “Pillmanise” Ryback – he misses, lands on the “bad knee” and is selling like a lunatic.
03:15 Ryback has punk up for the Shell shocked, Punk escapes to ringside, and dodges a spear – Ryback goes head first through a propped up table. Awesome looking sequence.
03:16 Punk is in the ring, with a ladder. Ryback is out of it at ringside, but here he comes. Both men climbing, Ryback punches Punk off the ladder, but Punk recovers to tip the ladder over. Ryback lands on his feet and press slams Punk into the fallen ladder!
03:17 Punk is trying to repair the ladder enough to climb it, attempts a second high knee in the corner to buy some time, but Ryback catches him and dumps Punk over the top rope, through a table outside the ring – GREAT spot!
03:18 Ryback climbs the ladder, touches the belt… the lights go out. When they come back on? THE SHIELD are on the ladder! Ryback dispatches them, but he’s taking up precious time.
03:19 The Shield are back, but with chairs and they are demolishing Ryback in and out of the ring.
03:20 The Shield triple power bomb Ryback through a table that’s on top of a set of steel stairs in an awesome visual. Punk is still woozy on the floor, with Heyman urging him to get up as Ryback recovers slowly.
03:21 Punk is selling that last bump like it’s death as he hauls himself up the ladder with one arm and one leg.
03:22 Punk starts laughing as he looks down on Ryback, who’s still lying in the wreckage. Punk unclips the belt, and retains. Really, really good match. The Shield interference was expected, and delivered. Ryback’s best match yet.
03:23 Heyman is crying as Punk celebrates on the ladder.
03:24 Later tonight, it’s THE ROCK! Break #13
03:28 We’re back, with a list of who has the most followers on Twitter. We go backstage, and Punk affirms he doesn’t know anything about the Shield, or Brad Maddox, or anything. He says he’s going to drop another pipe bomb on The Rock tonight.
03:29 Kane and Daniel Bryan get into a Yes / No screaming match until Vickie Guerrero interrupts to tell them that DOCTOR SHELBY is back next week to evaluate them. Kane and Daniel Bryan get into ANOTHER shouting match over whether Shelby is a monster or a nerd. I love those guys.
03:31 A plug for this week’s Smackdown, and Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio. Meeeeanwhile, here’s Kofi Kingston bouncing his way to the ring, to face The Big Show. Break #14
03:36 We’re back, the match is in progress, and Kofi just got K’d the F out! Big show wins. That… was good.
03:38 ANOTHER recap of the Rock/Punk fallout… a closeup of The Rock’s dressing room door, and we hit Break #15. Yeesh.
03:42 We’re back, and Punk & Heyman are here to roll out the red carpet for The Rock.
03:44 Punk makes a point of removing the WWE logo from the mic before he speaks… uh oh.
03:46 Punk is talking. He’s not cutting the typical Punk-heel promo. He’s delivering a very calculated, slow paced promo… reminiscent of that famous promo from last year.
03:50 Punk is SERIOUSLY messing with people in this promo. He’s getting them to cheer, and then ripping on them for it. He’s referenced Daniel Bryan, Brodus Clay, Tyson Kidd, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels… and Little Jimmy.
03:54 Punk is told to go to break by a nameless, faceless minion. He refuses, keeps on talking – and they cut him off anyway. We go to Break #16 and provide Punk with more ammunition.
03:57 We’re back, and Punk is still talking, with Heyman gone from the ring. Punk is really articulating beautifully here. He’s got the pitch of this promo bang on.
03:59 “In your face, jerks” – love it!
04:00 Oh it’s on – here’s The Rock. This is it. Rock vs. Punk on the mic… as good as it gets today?
04:03 “In 20 days… time’s up” – brilliant. Rock is firing on all cylinders, Punk is stood staring, taking it in, playing his part.
04:05 Punk’s rebuttal. We’re in to duelling promo territory here and this is great.
04:11 Punk has gone to 11 on the INTENSE level. “Your arms are just too short to box with God” is an AMAZING line. As good as Rock is, Punk is more than holding his own.
04:15 The face to face promo ends with a Rock Bottom sending the villain packing with his tail between his legs, but for me – Punk took the honours in that showdown. The Rock relied on his old catchphrase strewn delivery, mixed in with the usual wait for the fans to fill in his little comedy insults. When he ditched that, and went into serious mode, he was still as good as anyone – but it took Punk to lift him. Advantage: Punk.
And there we go folks. Live blow by blow of tonight’s Raw. Man, 3 hours is a long show. They could easily cut an hour of nonsense and random matches, and stupid pointless 3MB beatdowns and have a decent show. The next 3 weeks of Rock and Punk feuding should be good though…
Until next time – Have fun, go mad.