This is it – the last Raw of 2012! How will WWE go out – on a high note “cliffhanger,” or the usual “blah” kind of show, knowing darn well that no one will be watching since it is New Year’s Eve when airing? (My vote is for the latter!). In any case, it is still Monday Night Raw and the year’s finale begins now!
Monday Night Raw Report for December 31st, 2012 – “A Champion’s Toast.”
Introduction Segment: Welcoming
The regular Raw video plays, followed by the pyro blasting in the Verizon arena of Washington, D.C. Michael Cole welcomes us to the New Year’s Eve edition, as does the following superstar…
Segment #1: Arena Promo
“The Awesome One” The Miz walks out to the stage for “MizTV.” He announces that courtesy of Supervising Manager Vickie Guerrero, tonight will be a “Championship” night, where all Titles are on the line. However, the Champions will be choosing their matches. (Ok, maybe this won’t be that lame-duck afterall?) Miz now introduces his guest, 10-Time WWE Champion and the former “Dr. Of Thuganomics,” John Cena!
The 2012 “Superstar Of The Year” is excited, until Miz starts asking him the hard questions. He inquires if John’s relationship w/ A.J. is truly over yet. Cena assures that it is, and to even show that further, he will attend Dolph Ziggler’s and A.J.’s New Year’s Eve party.
To interrupt, “The Rhodes Scholars” walk out. Damien Sandow quotes T.S. Elliott in saying “this is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.” He then demands silence from the crowd, but does not get it from Cena. Instead, John retorts “I believe it was the famous poet, Robert Griffin the third, that said, and I quote ‘you guys suck!'” Damien pretends not to hear of the famous Washington Redskins NFL Quarterback (and helluva player awesome, personally writing), much to the chagrin and chants of “R.G.3.”
Cena makes fun of Cody Rhodes’ mustache, until “The Scholars” point out how far Cena’s and Miz’s stars have fallen, respectively, going from main-eventing WrestleManias to mid-card status. They want to propose a solution, but Cena beats them to it and challenges for a tag-team match. All is accepted and we begin the first bout of the night!
Match #1: Tag-Team – The Miz and John Cena VS. “The Rhodes Scholars” (Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes)
Cody and Cena start out, with Cena coming off the ropes with a shoulder-block tackle out of a side-headlock Irish whip. (follow me?!) Cena arm-wrenches Rhodes, and tags in the Miz, who drops a double-axe-handle smash on the outstretched arm. Cody elects to switch with Damien, so the “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” comes in and takes Miz down with a side-headlock. Miz counters a run into a flapjack, and Sandow rolls to the outside for a break.
Back (not-so-live), Cena and Sandow are wrestling, with Cena clamping on a grounding rear-chinlock. John trades again with The Miz, who stomps away on Damien. Miz is countered with an elbow and the “Scholars” double-stomp him in the corner. Miz reverses an Irish whip from Cody, then gives him a 9-punch in the corner, and one on the mat.
Cody drops to the canvas and delivers an uppercut to Miz, then tags in his partner. Damien hammers away and begins to work over Miz’s right arm. He covers for a two-count, then drops the “Elbow of Disdain.” Cody’s back in and head-butts Miz, then grapples him with a rear-chinlock.
Sandow returns but gets his suplex attempt reversed into a small package for a near-fall! Damien drags Miz to the corner and tags Cody back in. Rhodes drops Miz with a front-suplex and ties him in a hammerlock. Both heels continue to switch back and forth, corner and obscuring Miz from making a tag and saving himself.
Miz finally counters a bulldog attempt, and he and Cody make the hot-tags to their respective partners. Cena runs in and is all over Sandow with his usual moves, taking him down with the spin-out backdrop and 5-Knuckle-Shuffle fistdrop. However, he turns right around into the “Beautiful Disaster” kick from Cody, only for Rhodes to get planted with the Skull Krushing Finale. He then throws Sandow back into Cena, who finishes the contest off with the Attitude Adjustment and subsequent cover!
Winners via Pinfall: The Miz and John Cena
Segment #2: Locker Room Promo
Vickie Guerrero is hosting a New Year’s Eve bash with all the superstars. She turns around to see an uninvited guest – Dolph Ziggler. Guerrero informs “The Showoff” that he will be in a match, against Sheamus. “Happy New Year!”
Segment #3: Locker Room Promo
WWE Champion C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman walk in on Guerrero’s party. Punk wants to bring a doctor to the ring, so they can explain C.M.’s injury in “layman’s terms” to the people, as he thinks that they do not believe the legitimacy of his injury. Vickie conquers that it is for real and gives permission for Punk’s promo later. She also, with “strong encouragement” books Ryback VS. The Shield.
Match #2: Single for the United States Championship – ??? (Challenger) VS. Antonio Cesaro (Champion)
As of now, the opponent is unknown. Cesaro reminds the fans that he is the champion of everything, which includes all the tourist attractions he visited in Washington, such as the Pentagon, the Monument, etc.. He tells us that he ran into someone that also represents “the red, white and blue,” and that person is his opponent tonight …. Sergeant Slaughter!
The WWE Hall-Of-Famer marches out in his military gear to challenge for the title. They lock up and standoff, then engage in traded waistlocks. Cesaro wears down Sarge with a side-headlock, until The Legend fights out of it and manages to clamp on his Cobra Clutch submission. Antonio battles to the ropes and following an uppercut, plants Slaughter with “The Neutralizer” cradle-faceplant for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall and STILL United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
Post-match, Cesar drops Sergeant a second time with “The Neutralizer” and gloats with his championship overhead.
Segment #4: Locker Room Promo
Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No!” wanted to fight “The Shield” tonight, but since they’re already booked, they decide on “3MB” as their opponents, who were rehearsing on the other side of the room.
Segment #5: Locker Room Promo
Ricardo Rodriguez is pouring a drink when World Heavyweight Champion Big Show walks up to him. He offers Ricardo a chance at the Title, and a nervous Rodriguez spills his drink on Show’s shoes. This automatically puts him in the match, as Show wishes him “good luck.”
Elsewhere, WWE Hall-Of-Famer and Women’s Legend Mae Young gets friendly with the new generation of Divas. She is then courted by Divas Champion Eve to matchup for the championship.
Match #3: Tag-Team for the Tag-Team Championship – Kane and Daniel Bryan (Champions) VS. “3MB” (Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre) (Challengers)
“Team Hell-No!” makes their entrances, separately, prior to the break.
Bryan and Slater start, with Heath arm-dragging him. Daniel comes back with a shoulder-block and flapjack, the locks on a surfboard-stretch. He tags in Kane, who gives a sitting Slater a running front-dropkick. The big-man for “3MB” is now in, but Drew quickly gets taken down with a shoulder-block by Kane, then an Irish-whipped dropkick in the corner from Bryan. McIntyre manages a little offense, but soon gets kicked-away at by Daniel. Drew moves, sending Bryan to the outside, and he gets a running knee from Jinder Mahal on the floor.
Slater is switched back in, and he grasps a side-headlock on, then takes Daniel down with a running neckbreaker. 1 – 2 – Bryan kicks out! Daniel elbows his way out of another headlock but then both he and Heath collide with a running crossbody. Kane and Drew are back it, with “The Big Red Machine” in complete control. Kane drops down with a huge sidewalk slam, then ascends the turnbuckle for a top-rope diving clothesline. Slater is tossed to the outside, as Bryan knees Jinder to relieve him.
Kane Chokeslams Drew, and Bryan gives his team the victory following a flying headbutt from the top!
Winners via Pinfall and STILL Tag-Team Champions: “Team Hell-No!” (Kane and Daniel Bryan)
Segment #6: Arena Promo
C.M. Punk, the WWE Champion for 407 consecutive days, hobbles out on crutches still, with Paul Heyman and the doctor. Punk recalls his 2012 year, in which he came out on top against huge-star names like Chris Jericho, Ryback, John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, etc… He also recounts his numerous injuries throughout his championship reign and toughed it out. “The Straight-Edge Superstar” tells the WWE Universe they think he is faking it, which is why he travelled with his Chicago doctor to prove the opposite.
This doctor shows x-ray images of a normal-looking knee and the WWE Champion’s broken appendage. It is legitimate, and because of this, the doctor is not allowing Punk to compete next week against Ryback for the WWE Championship!
Or not, as the only man who overrides decisions like this, interrupts. Mr. Vince McMahon, the owner, first wishes everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Then, he wonders how Punk will “weasel your way out of this T.L.C. Championship match.” Heyman comes to Punk’s defense quickly. Mr. McMahon changes the order of things, and says that if the WWE Officials medically clear Punk, then the title bout is on.
The two then get into a debate about how C.M. has remained WWE Champion for so long. Punk retaliates by comparing his situation with Vince’s, when the Chairman was on trial (for real) in 1993 by the U.S. Government. Heyman again stands up for “The Second-City Saint” and calls McMahon a “flesh-peddling promoter.” McMahon steams at this comment, then informs them if Punk can’t compete next week, Paul Heyman himself will replace the WWE Champion! This worries Punk and Heyman, rightfully so, as McMahon walks off.
Up next, Sheamus will take on Dolph Ziggler.
Match #4: Single – “The Showoff/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with A.J. and Big E. Langston) VS. Sheamus
The bell rings and Ziggler is aggressive early with kicks and punches in the corner. Sheamus fires back with a hard hand and short-arm clothesline. Scoop slam and elbow drop by Sheamus, but Dolph counters an arm-wrench with more punching. Sheamus counters a run from Ziggler into a (botched) backdrop-throw, then drives him back with a suplex for two! Sheamus hits a knee-to-the-face on Ziggler on the apron, then begins to pound away until Big E. Langston saves Dolph by pulling him off the side. (shouldn’t that be a dq?)
Back to the match, Dolph has Sheamus locked in a side-headlock until the big Irishman battles out with a couple double-axe handles and high-running-knee-lift. Dolph counters out of the corner with an elbow and jumping DDT! 1 – 2 – Sheamus gets the shoulder up! Dolph goes back to the grounding chinlock to wear Sheamus down. This works for a while, but Sheamus then gets some momentum with a huge tilt-a-whirl scoop-slam for two! He then cuts Ziggler off the top rope and chucks him backward with a fall-away slam off the turnbuckle! 1 – 2 – Dolph kicks out!
Sheamus goes to the corner, but this time Dolph crotches the former WWE Champion, until Sheamus punches him down and flies off with a shoulder-tackle. 1 – 2 – Ziggler kicks out again! Sheamus attempts his Cloverleaf submission but Dolph crawls to the ropes. Sheamus counters another jumping-DDT attempt into the Irish Curse and drops him down!
Momentum time, as Sheamus riles up the crowd for the Brogue Kick. Langston saves Ziggler, then measures Sheamus until “The Shield” run out and him, causing the dq.
Winner via Disqualification: Sheamus
Post-match, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns all pound away on Sheamus, then drop him with the triple-powerbomb. The stand over their latest victim with pleasure.
Segment #7: Backstage Promo
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston is checking on Sheamus, until Wade Barrett walks up and demands that he get the Championship Shot tonight. Kofi is all for it, saying “I beat you before, and I’ll beat you again.”
Segment #8: Locker Room Promo
Much to C.M. Punk’s dismay, Brad Maddox comes in and offers to help him out if they help him. Heyman gets in his face and orders the former referee and now job-hunting wrestler to just get out!
Segment #9: Locker Room Promo
Mae Young is complaining of stomach pains, so a doctor checks her out. And in a really badly-rehashing, apparently, she is pregnant, again! (No Comment!)
Match #5: Single for the Divas Championship – Eve (Champion) VS. ??? (Challenger)
Eve demands a forfeit ruling, then for a photographer to take a picture of her winning pose. Instead, Kaitlyn storms out and engages in a brawl with the champion. She gets the best of her, but since this was not an official match, no resolution is given.
Winner: No Contest via No Official Match
Segment #10: Backstage Promo
Ricardo Rodriguez is nervous backstage, but ensures Alberto Del Rio that he will win the World Heavyweight Championship. Alberto ensures that he will be their in his corner and gives him his scarf and car keys to “do it in style!”
Match #6: Single for the World Heavyweight Championship – The Big Show (Champion) VS. Ricardo Rodriguez (with Alberto Del Rio) (Challenger)
Ricardo rides out, just as happy as Del Rio would be, in a red-colored Mercedes SO 550, priced at $200,000! Del Rio follows behind him, clapping him on.
After formal introductions, the “contest” is on, which is really just Big Show toying with the (mainly) manager/ring announcer. Rodriguez actually gets some offense with a counter and Del Rio-esqe running Enziguri! He reverses the big-boot and jumps off the second rope, but gets slapped down quickly. Show signals for the K.O. Punch, but Alberto runs in and takes down show. This delights the crowd (seriously) and Del Rio knocks Show to the mat with a kick!
He drags Ricardo to the back and winks at show, as if “gotcha!”
Match #7: Single for the Intercontinental Championship – Kofi Kingston (Champion) VS. Wade Barrett (Challenger)
Kofi makes his entrances before the break.
Wade is out now and both lockup to begin. Wade whips Kingston into the corner, but Kofi reverses and kicks him in the gut. Barrett comes out of a side-headlock and delivers a shoulder tackle, followed by a couple high-dropkicks! Wade ties Kofi’s left arm in an upper-hammerlock, and avoids the Trouble In Paradise Kick. Another side-headlock by Kingston, whose monkey-flip is countered into a double-hip toss by both to the outside!
Wade is back in control with a harsh kick to Kofi’s stomach, then chokes him against the middle rope. Using that rope, Kofi counters and flips up with a kick to send Barrett back to the floor, and then Kingston springboards off the ropes with a body splash!
Kofi goes back to chops and dropkicks, but gets countered into a pin combination for two by Barrett! Wade attempts “Wasteland,” but Kofi reverses into the S.O.S. for another near-fall! Kofi delivers punches in the corner, which Barrett reverses into a powerbomb pin, still only for two! Barrett ducks another Trouble In Paradise and nails the “Wasteland” fireman’s carry drop. 1 – 2 – Kofi kicks out!
In the corner, Barrett pounds away, but Kofi flips up with another kick. However, he misses the subsequent top rope Crossbody and walks into the “Brawlhammer” elbow! 1 – 2 – 3! Wade Barrett receives the victory and championship!
Winner via Pinfall and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett
Segment #11: Locker Room Promo
Following a great moment/match, is a dreadful one with Mae Young being shown “giving birth.” (Really, they have to go there again?)
Segment #12: Locker Room Promo
More of the Mae Young “birth,” which is revealed to be Hornswaggle dressed in “New Year’s baby attire” – for real. (Again, no comment.) Cole and Lawler just laugher, sincerely in the sense of “I can’t believe we witness this and why was this in the script?!”
Match #8: 3-On-1 – “The Shield” (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins) VS. Ryback
“The Shield” make their way to the ring through the crowd prior to the break.
“Feed Me More” blares the speakers as the fan-favorite beast Ryback is intensified. Right off the bat, “The Shield” meet him in the aisle and the bell hasn’t even run. It is an all-out brawl. Ryback starts to take apart the trio, but they quickly gang up again. Ryback is beat up on until Sheamus runs back down and tries to help. He too is assaulted heavily.
The “rescuer?” How about “The Viper” Randy Orton! The third-generation superstar runs out and evens the odds, even R.K.O.-ing Dean Ambrose after Ryback military-pressed Rollins to the outside on top of Roman. “The Shield” retreat more or less still in one piece, as their previous victims stare down.
Up next, is the “New Year’s Toast” with A.J. and Dolph Ziggler.
Segment #13: Arena Promo
“The Showoff/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler, A.J., and Big E. Langston are in the ring, decorated in New Year’s garb. Ziggler gives a toast to the fans, for picking John Cena, “the golden boy,” as the 2012 “Superstar Of The Year.” Dolph brags about Cena’s faults last yea – first losing at WrestleMania XXVIII against The Rock in a match he must win, then getting beaten down with an F-5 by Brock Lesnar the next night on Raw, following that with a loss to John Laurinaitis (which Ziggler wonders if anyone even remembers), being the first superstar to cash in “Money In The Bank” and lose, and finally being screwed out of the T.L.C. match by A.J.
She takes the mike now and declares that the WWE Universe are the ones who need help, for choosing Cena as Superstar despite all his failures. Ziggler proclaims that “your time is up, and my time is now!” (Couldn’t agree more!) Dolph orders Langston to make sure Cena does not interject in the upcoming toast, as he is no longer invited.
A.J. toasts “the man who will own 2013. ‘Mr. Money In The Bank,’ “The Showoff,’ the man I love, Dolph Ziggler!” Dolph toasts then they have another epic make-out session, until Cena’s music plays. He walks to the top of the stage and glares down Big E.
Cena says he is not here to fight, but instead agree with Dolph. He says that 2012 was not his year, but instead was the year of A.J. Cena then makes fun of Dolph and A.J.’s courtship with doctored photos of their “wedding” and “children.”
Back to seriousness, Cena says that “yes, 2012 wasn’t too good for me. I owned up to every single loss I had. Stayed in the fight and when all that was happening, I truly never gave up. And yes, the WWE Universe voted me ‘Superstar of the Year,’ and although I was flattered, out of respect, I didn’t accept the award. Like I said earlier, a man can own up to his flaws. I’ve been here 10 years, I had one bad season. You want to write me off, fine, but before you do, look deep into the mirror. This is not your first year here Dolph. It is your 7th, 7th.”
Cena talks about Ziggler complaining all the time backstage to get a push and never take the blame. “Only way a guy like you gets a set of nuts is by buying them at the concession stand!” Cena recaps Ziggler’s “not-so-hot” (until now) career, and makes a huge (but yet somewhat not unexpected) announcement – he is entering the 2013 Royal Rumble match!
Cena finishes his speech by saying that his “uniform” has not changed – he is still all about “Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect.” John then toasts A.J. and Dolph the only way that is suitable to him – with a “dumping” full of brown liquid from the rafters. Cena declares that is what Dolph and A.J. are full off and wishes everyone a Happy New Year to close the show, and 2012 Raw.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Ok, I have to admit, this was actually a better show than I thought for a night when very few would actually be watching (and with it being pre-taped.) Obviously, no big “cliffhanger,” but at least it didn’t feel like they were “going through the motions” as in some past shows. Onto the final 2012 analysis:
Excellence: Honestly, pretty much everything. The show flowed smoothly, made sense (except for one segment highlighted in “bogus” and you’ll know what that is already, I’m sure!), and the idea of a “Champion’s” night gave some intrigue to the bouts. In particular, to name one, is actually the turn by Alberto. He is getting some great cheers, and I think he could make an awesome baby-face. Smart to put him against Show to help propel the result. And seriously, I think he would be a better World Champion as a good guy, gaining a bit more “dynamic” and personality.
Bogus: The obvious – Mae Young. That was really, really unnecessary. On the plus, it wasn’t a dragged out thing, but still, was totally not needed and completely stupid.
Alright, so the analysis was short, but I seriously just liked Raw tonight and felt (almost) everything was equal in review for the right reasons. They put in a decent effort and made me very happy. Now the real fun begins next week when the build for Royal Rumble (and really Wrestlemania XXIX) starts. Great way to finish off 2012 and let’s hope they begin 2013 Raws the same way and better!
Until next week, and since it is technically January 1st as of this typing, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans! Be Excellent and best wishes for a prosperous 2013!