WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 12/13: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live three-hour Raw - Slammys edition, TLC PPV hype, Superstar of the Year
Dec 13, 2010 - 10:12:22 PM
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WWE Raw Results
December 13, 2010 - Episode #915
Live from New Orleans, La.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The final three-hour Raw of 2010 opened with a video package introducing the categories for this year's Slammy Awards edition and clips of the eligible candidates.
Arena: New music introduced the Slammy Awards edition with Michael Cole on the call. Great. Cole introduced the show from New Orleans where he was joined by C.M. Punk and an upset Jerry Lawler. They were surrounded by tables, ladders, and chairs. Lawler said he wants to have some fun tonight punching Cole. Cole told him he'll be fired if he strikes him.
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced "former WCW World Hvt. champion" David Arquette. Arquette acted like a cartoon heel hearing boos in his head as he walked to the podium on-stage. Arquette name-dropped the WCW World Title, Eric Bischoff (with a dig at Bischoff), and "Ready to Rumble" before introducing the Shocker of the Year category. Arquette was booed throughout this for trying to act like an over-the-top heel. (I would have selected a million other ways WWE would have started the show before a WCW Title reference, a David Arquette cameo, and an Eric Bischoff name-drop. Is this the beginning of the WCW-themed Hall of Fame hype?)
Back on stage, Arquette announced Nexus's invasion as the Shocker of the Year. Barrett walked out on stage and accepted the award on behalf of Nexus, whose members were not with him. Barrett reminded everyone that he created Nexus, he brought the other NXT Season 1 Rookies to Raw, and he has the power to break them. Barrett said he also has the power to re-hire John Cena. Barrett thanked the audience for the award, but the Raw GM buzzed in an interruption.
Michael Cole walked to the podium, cutting off C.M. Punk, who said the people liked it when he did it. Cole addressed Barrett that he will give him an opportunity to deliver another shocking moment in a match right now against this man. Cue up Big Show's theme music. The crowd applauded as Show walked out on stage and stood nose-to-nose with Barrett. Show ripped the Slammy trophy away form Barrett and walked to the ring. Oh, WWE, giving away another potential big inter-brand match-up with zero hype.
1 -- WADE BARRETT vs. BIG SHOW
Barrett stalled for the first 1:30 of the match before entering the ring and accepting a huge chop across the chest. Barrett sold in the corner, then lured Show into an eye-rake. Show started throwing errant right hands, so Barrett began stomping and kicking toward Show. The crowd rallied with a loud "Cena, Cena" chant, then Show knocked Barrett to the outside and delivered another huge chop to the chest. Show chased Barrett back into the ring, but Barrett rolled out of the ring, grabbed his Slammy, and went home. Barrett disappeared to the back and Show was declared the winner.
WINNER: Big Show via count-out at 3:45. WWE didn't give away much in the ring, but the idea of just giving away Show vs. Barrett with no advanced notice is inefficient when the talent pool is so limited to create compelling match-ups. (*)
Superstar of the Year: The audience is selecting Superstar of the Year from Cena, Miz, Orton, Edge, Kane, and Rey Mysterio.
Back live: the MTV Awards-style voice-over woman welcomed the audience back to the show. The announcers plugged the big Divas battle royal still to come, which will include NXT Season 3 winner Kaitlyn. So, she could win the prestigious Diva of the Year award in her first main roster match.
On-stage: Kelly Kelly came out to present the next award. Tyson Kidd joined her, along with Jackson Andrews, who Kidd named as Jackson Andrews. Kidd cut a promo on Kelly, playing up the "dumb blonde" gimmick. Kelly noted Kidd's lack of promo time before telling him: "Two words - Supercuts." Punk noted it's actually one word. Kelly then introduced the candidates for the "Despicable Me" award. The video focused on C.M. Punk singing Happy Birthday to Rey Mysterio's daughter back in the SES days.
Back live, Kidd announced Punk as the winner. Punk celebrated and left the announce table to accept the award from Kidd while Cole celebrated with him. Punk high-fived Kidd, then hugged Kelly and lifted her in the air. Punk said this proves if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can make all your dreams come true. He said he did what he did to Rey because Rey wronged him. Right now, backstage somewhere, there is another individual who has wronged him. He called out this person and said there will come a day when he gets even. Punk vowed to get his revenge and, if what he did to Rey and Family was despicable, he hasn't seen anything yet.
In-ring: Kofi Kingston's music hit and he did the Boom Clap toward Punk, who left to the backstage area. Justin Roberts announced an inter-brand tag team match. U.S. champion Daniel Bryan, with the Bellas, joined Kofi in the ring as Cole pluged the "Tribute to the Troops" TV special on NBC this Saturday. IC champion Dolph Ziggler was out next along with Vickie Guerrero. And, rounding out the field, Ted DiBiase was out next with Maryse. Poor Kofi didn't have an escort to the dance.
2 -- U.S. champion DANIEL BRYAN (w/the Bellas) & KOFI KINGSTON vs. IC champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) & TED DIBIASE (w/Maryse)
The action was joined in progress with Bryan locked in a headlock. Punk was back on commentary with Cole and Lawler as Bryan fought back to his feet. Cole asked Punk who he was sending a message to, but Punk turned his attention to the ring. Cole noted some of the Slammy Awards were already handed out on WWE's website earlier today. The heels continued to work over Bryan while Vickie and Maryse jockeyed for position ringside looking for the most camera time. The Bellas tried to rally behind Bryan, who collided with DiBiase mid-ring.
DiBiase rolled to the floor, then Kofi tagged in. Ziggler entered to feed Kofi, who was looking around for someone to attack. Kofi landed the Boom Drop on Ziggler before nailing Trouble in Paradise. Kofi made a cover and DiBiase appeared to break it up, but the ref counted a quick three count for Kofi anyways. The Bellas celebrated with Bryan while Maryse sold shock and disappointment ringside.
WINNERS: Bryan & Kofi at 3:07 of what aired. Not enough time given to a match featuring what should be the novelty of Raw and Smackdown wrestlers mixed together. There were just too many people involved in-ring and out-of-the-ring for anyone to stand out. WWE needs to rebuild the brand split to the point of it generating a reaction on the level of a TNA wrestler hypothetically appearing on Raw...or just get rid of the brand split altogether. (*)
Still to come tonight: KOTR winner Sheamus vs. John Morrison. Also, someone will win Superstar of the Year. Cole said it could be an "awesome" night, hinting at The Miz. Lawler told him to shut up.
On-stage: Justin Roberts introduced new WWE tag champs Santino & Kozlov to present the award for Guest Star of the Year. Cole described them as "funny and entertaining." Unfortunately, it's a WWE world where "they beat people up and win matches" has less value than whether they can make someone laugh. And WWE wonders why business has taken a tumble. Santino and Kozlov did their comedy routine before introducing a video on the candidates.
Back on stage, Santino announced that Pee-wee Herman won. Cole voiced-over that none of the Raw guest host nominees could appear on the show, but Herman sent comments from his Broadway tour. Herman was shown in a pre-taped video thanking himself and his talent and ability. He thanked Miz and Big Show for contributing to his appearance before thanking WWE over and over. Punk demanded a recount because Shatner did not win. Lawler agreed.
Locker room: Barrett put his Slammy Award on a shelf as David Otunga approached him with the rest of Nexus behind him. Otunga asked Barrett to make The Decision on re-hiring Cena or not. He said Nexus will be just fine without Barrett before noting that Barrett taking a hike vs. Big Show didn't help his singles career. Barrett smiled and thanked Otunga for helping make his decision.
Troops plug: A video package aired promoting Saturday's "Tribute to the Troops" on NBC. They included some quick preview clips of the stage area and WWE's top stars in the ring from Saturday's TV taping.
In-ring: Mark Henry came to the ring for the next unhyped match of the show. The announcers plugged Extreme Rules tickets going on-sale this Saturday. Cody Rhodes was out next to face Henry in another inter-brand match. Before the bell sounded, Cole asked Lawler how long he's going to be upset with him.
3 -- MARK HENRY vs. CODY RHODES
Rhodes tried to duck under the ropes to avoid Henry, who then clotheslined him and tried to rearrange his face. Rhodes started screaming at Henry, who smiled. Punk said some people think Rhodes is soft because he's concerned about his face, but he has a mean streak. Rhodes showed it off by dropping Henry with a drop toehold before stomping and kicking away at him. Henry recovered and made a comeback with a big corner splash. Rhodes avoided a second splash and nailed the Disaster Kick to floor Henry. Rhodes then dropped a knee to the upper back region from the second rope. Rhodes made the cover and it was good for the win.
WINNER: Rhodes at 2:48. Henry's stock falling or Rhodes's stick rising? Or, another Raw vs. Smackdown give-away that won't mean anything? (*)
Cole plugged the "Holy (bleep) Move of the Year" award to be announced next. The MTV voice-over woman said the Slammy Awards continues next.
On-stage: Jerry Lawler re-located to the backstage area during the break to present the Move of the Year award. Lawler was then joined by Vickie Guerrero to present the award. Lawler pulled out the jokebook to make a "reptile dysfunction" instead of erectile dysfunction joke. Vickie joked about Cole costing Lawler the WWE Title, so Lawler returned fire with two fat jokes. Vickie said she's lost weight, so Lawler told her to look around her to find it. Three mean fat jokes. Way to go, WWE.
[Q5 -- second hour / standard first hour] Back on the stage, Lawler announced John Cena delivering an Attitude Adjustment through the table as the winner. Lawler noted Cena is "fired," so they will accept the award on his behalf. Barrett interrupted, took the Slammy, and walked to the ring taunting Cena to come get it. Barrett said he's going to decide right now whether to hire Cena back to WWE.
In the ring, Barrett held the mic, looked around the arena, and said his decision is...pause...pause...pause..."My decision is..." Another pause as Barrett sold this being a tough decision. The crowd chanted Cena's name as Barrett stood in the ring with his hand on his hip. Barrett said he's not even going to make the decision until Cena comes to the ring to face him. He said he knows Cena is watching him right now.
The crowd started screaming somewhere in the arena. Cena then emerged through the crowd, hugged a few kids, exchanged glances with Cole ringside, and slipped into the ring. Barrett told Cena that it's a big decision affecting a lot of people. Barrett mentioned Nexus, so Nexus members walked out to ringside and circled the ring. Cena took off his cap and t-shirt to prepare for a fight as Barrett continued to milk the moment with the crowd buzzing.
Barrett finally said, "Cena, you're officially re-hired." Cena celebrated, but Barrett told him it's under two conditions. Cena faces him this Sunday at TLC in a chairs match. Also, Cena gives the whole world what they've been waiting for...one-on-one with David Otunga. Otunga sold shock. Cena laughed. Barrett said he's going to show Cena why he decided to re-hire him. Nexus stepped onto the ring apron, then Nexus started beating down Cena. Barrett then grabbed a chair and cracked it over Cena's back twice. Barrett stomped out of the ring, then Nexus followed behind him. Cole said it's a chairs match. And that's why Barrett re-hired Cena.
Next Week: for the first-time ever, USA Network presents three nights of WWE action with "WWE Week on USA Network." First, Raw on Monday and a live two-hour Smackdown on Tuesday, and the two-hour version of "Tribute to the Troops" next Wednesday.
Moments Ago: Barrett re-hired Cena, Nexus delivered a beat down, and Barrett vs. Cena at TLC is official. ... Announcers: Cole, Punk, and Lawler were shown on-camera recapping the Slammy Awards handed out thus far.
On-stage: Back on the stage was David Arquette in an Elvis suit. He said he has a few items to promote. He's re-opening an historic theater in Hollywood. Arquette introduced the "WWE Universe Fan Reaction of the Year" award. They showed various crowd reactions. Cole heeled on Shawn Michaels when they showed a fan reacting to Michaels's retirement. The big crowd pop was for the evil girl after Miz's WWE Title victory. The winner was Angry Miz Girl. They actually had the girl (or someone who looked like the girl), along with her dad. She thanked her dad for taking to her to Raw. Suddenly, Miz's music interrupted. Miz and Alex Riley walked out on stage. Miz mock complemented her on looking so pretty tonight. She suggested she take the Slammy Award for safe-keeping. Miz asked her to repeat the face. Miz mocked her face, then she half-did the face as Miz, Riley, and Arquette started walking to the ring. She disappeared instead of delivering The Slap that would have popped the crowd huge.
In the ring, Miz told the audience to tune into the TLC PPV on Sunday when he delivers the Moment of the Year beating down Orton so badly that Orton will beg him to be thrown through a table to end the match. Suddenly, the GM interrupted. Cole read that Miz and Orton will have to face former champions tonight. Miz's match against a former World champion begins now. Rey Mysterio's music hit and the next Raw vs. Smackdown match was booked.
4 -- WWE champion THE MIZ (w/Alex Riley and David Arquette) vs. REY MYSTERIO -- non-title match
The action quickly moved to the floor as Cole plugged Rey having his own PPV match against Alberto Del Rio at the PPV. They cut to a break 35 seconds into the match with Rey in control.
[Commercial Break. Another plug for the "Despicable Me" DVD aired following the not-so-subtle Slammy Awards plug.]
Back in the ring, Rey broke free from a chinlock. Rey tried a wheelbarrow move, but they botched the move and kind of fell to the mat. Miz and Rey recovered, then Rey set up the 619, but Alberto Del Rio's music interrupted. The distraction allowed Miz to smash Rey into the ring apron for a two count. Up top, Miz teased a superplex, but Rey knocked him to the mat and landed a sentaun followed by a cross-body splash for a two count. Rey then set up the 619 again and confusion ensued with Del Rio and Riley interfering, but Rey scored a two count on a pin attempt. Rey set up the 619 again. This time, the interference worked and Miz was able to roll up Rey for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Miz at 7:05. The botched spot, interference, and Del Rio's scarf will probably be most remembered from this match-up. The crowd was hot for Rey, which was good for the TV presentation. (*1/2)
[Q7] Post-match: Rey chased Del Rio to the back while Miz, Riley, and Arquette celebrated in the ring. Miz heldup the WWE Title belt, but the GM interrupted. Cole apologized for interrupting Miz's celebration before announcing Orton will be in a handicap match tonight against Alex Riley and his partner...former WCW World Hvt. champion David Arquette. Riley was stunned. Arquette sold excitement. "That is a handicap match if I ever heard one," Punk said.
New Orleans: They showed Bourbon Street and the announcers joked about things that happen on Bourbon.
On-stage: Edge was introduced as the presenter for the "Oh Snap Meltdown of the Year" award. Cole robotically plugged Edge challenging Kane for the World Title at TLC. Edge said he believes Kane was supposed to be his co-presenter, but he understands Kane is having a meltdown right now. He vowed to take the World Title from Kane at TLC before requesting a co-presenter who he's comfortable with. Someone he's had chemistry with over the years... Christian's music hit to bring back Christian with his arm in a sling. Edge and Christian stood together at the podium to soak in the moment before bantering about Christian's pec injury. Christian said he hopes Del Rio wins this award tonight because he, nor his Peeps, have forgotten Del Rio injuring him.
The video nominees included Edge snapping on the Raw GM and the computer expressing feelings. Also, Batista quitting, Jack Swagger's trophy ceremony, and Del Rio. Christian announced that the winner is Edge for destroying the Raw GM computer. Edge rubbed his chin and said he can't believe he won this award when he's usually so calm and cool. He began snapping on the Raw GM and announced the GM put him in a match against Jack Swagger. Christian started making the buzzing sound on his phone. Cole said that's not funny. Christian said he's just trying to calm down Edge. Edge vowed to become World Hvt. champion at TLC. Before that, though, he has to share something that has never changed. "Michael Cole is still a massive tool," Edge said. Cole ranted and raved before asking how do you win a "reward" for a Meltdown? He meant to say "award."
In-ring: Sheamus's music hit and he came out in his emerald green robe. Cole said he is too distraught to handle business right now, so Lawler plugged the sponsor. John Morrison was out next to a big female-driven crowd response. Cole called Morrison a sore loser for interrupting Sheamus's celebration after the King of the Ring. Couldn't the same be said of Cena post-firing?
5 -- JOHN MORRISON vs. SHEAMUS
They went after each other before the bell sounded and maintained an aggressive tone to the match. The referee tried to separate them, but they continued to fight in the ropes. The ref called for the bell, throwing out the match.
WINNER: Double DQ at 0:33.
Post-match: more referees intervened to separate the two men before the crowd chanted, "Let them fight." The Raw GM interrupted again. Cole read that Sheamus and Morrison can't settle their issue tonight, so he (or she) is raising the stakes. The winner of the match at TLC will become the new #1 contender to the WWE Title. The winner will be the man who retrieves a contract suspended above the ring...in a ladder match. Morrison smiled, then Sheamus blind-sided him. Sheamus knocked over Morrison, then screamed at Cole that he should already be #1 contender. Sheamus removed the ladder and jabbed Morrison with it when Morrison came to his feet. Then, Sheamus delivered a boot to the head as referees tried to get Sheamus to back off. Sheamus proceeded to chuck Morrison over the top rope onto the ladder and Morrison writhed in pain selling his back as Sheamus stood tall in the ring.
Still to come: Cena vs. Otunga, Orton vs. A-Ri and D-Arq, and the Divas Battle Royal.
On-stage: JTG and William Regal were on stage to present Knucklehead of the Year. JTG did his routine while Regal sold disdain. Regal paused and casually approached the mic to introduce a video package on nominees, including Punk being unmasked by Big Show, Mae Young vs. Lay-Cool, Beth Phoenix eliminating Great Khali in the Royal Rumble, and Santino and Kozlov's dance-off on Viewer's Choice Raw. JTG announced the winner as Mae Young beating up Lay-Cool. Out to accept the award were McCool and Layla, who delivered a mock acceptance speech before running to the ring.
Smackdown plug: Has Kane destroyed his own father, Paul Bearer?
[Q9 -- third hour / standard second hour]
6 -- DIVAS BATTLE ROYAL -- Winner is Diva of the Year
Back from break to begin the ultra-important top of the 10:00 p.m. EST hour, Lay-Cool were still celebrating with their Slammy in the ring. A parade of Divas came to the ring for the battle royal. They all circled around Layla and McCool, who threw the first blow and set off a brawl. NXT3 winner Kaitlyn was the first one out. More Divas started exiting as they pared the field down to the relevant competitors. Kelly took a hard spill on the way out. Beth then gave Melina the Glam Slam onto the top rope to eliminate her. Layla was eliminated by Beth, then distracted Beth to get her eliminated. Natalya cleared multiple Divas on the other side of the ring, then McCool surprised Natalya by eliminating her.
WINNER: McCool at 3:30. I will be very surprised if someone was not injured during that match. Of note, no hint of a Melina heel turn.
Post-match: Lay-Cool celebrated McCool winning Diva of the Year. Suddenly, the very busy Raw GM buzzed in. Cole read that Lay-Cool will meet Natalya and Beth Phoenix at TLC in the first-ever Divas tag team tables match. Lay-Cool sold shock and disbelief while Beth and Natalya smiled. Two tables matches on the same PPV?
Backstage: They showed Edge walking down the hallway ahead of his match against Jack Swagger.
Top 50 DVD: They plugged the "controversial" Top 50 Superstars DVD. How can there be a "controversy" when no one could rationally defend the list? It's just a historically insignificant marketing tool.
In-ring: Edge came out for the next match as Cole complained about Smackdown GM Teddy Long not doing anything about Edge kidnapping Paul Bearer. Cole added that he's not a tool. Swagger then came out to face Edge as the announcers plugged Kane vs. Edge at TLC.
7 -- EDGE vs. JACK SWAGGER
Cole announced Smackdown GM Long has booked Swagger vs. Kofi vs. Ziggler in a three-way ladder match for the IC Title at TLC. Two ladder matches on the same PPV? Swagger dominated early on as the announcers tried to plug all of the new TLC matches announced tonight.
[Q10] Swagger shouted at the crowd after scoring a handful of nearfalls. He tried to put away Edge, but Edge came back with an inverted drop. Edge built momentum and landed a knock-down clothesline for a two count. Cole labeled this standard one-on-one match a "traditional match," as if it's a dated concept compared to the over-gimmicked TLC matches. Swagger tried the Anklelock at 4:00, but Edge blocked. Swagger teased the gutwrench, but Edge countered with a lift-up DDT. Edge then got that look in his eyes wanting the Spear as the crowd came to life. He measured Swagger and dropped him clean with the Spear for the win. Punk posed the question of whether Edge will be the new World champion on Sunday.
WINNER: Edge at 4:45. This is where a squash match would have easily accomplished the task of getting over Edge, his finisher, and his quest for the World Title without sacrificing Swagger, who's challenging for the IC Title on Sunday. (*1/2)
Backstage: Miz and Riley were sporting matching "I'm Awesome!" t-shirts as Riley complained about having to team with Arquette against Orton. Miz said he has his back. Arquette then barged in sporting a wild red, white, and blue ring jacket. He said they both had their doubters during their title runs, so they should prove everyone wrong. DQ stormed off and Riley called him delusional. Miz said his one goal tonight is putting Orton through a table. The crowd oohed back in the arena.
WWE Week: Another plug aired for WWE Week on USA Network next week Monday - Wednesday.
Announcers: Cole, Punk, and Lawler were shown on-camera. They plugged a video game award to Amin Okar of Burbank, Calif.
On-stage: Big Show came out dressed in a suit after a victory over Wade Barrett in the opening match to announce Moment of the Year. Show plugged Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre the Giant, Snuka off the cage, and the birth of Austin 3:16 as iconic moments in WWE history. A video package showed the nominees for Moment of the Year. They re-aired Triple H having something to tell Shawn Michaels before Sheamus interrupted. Also, HBK vs. Taker one more time at WM26.
Back on stage, Show announced the Moment of the Year as Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels in Michaels's final match. They cut to a pre-taped video of Michaels, who was back on the air for the first time since the night after WrestleMania 26. He joked that he is at an undisclosed location because WWE might try to bring him back. Michaels tried to get serious thanking the audience for the Most Memorable Moment. Michaels thanked the fans for a wonderful ride. The crowd applauded. Michaels said he doesn't miss "it," but he does miss the fans. He said he hopes to see the fans again very soon. No overt hint at the Hall of Fame, but the "see you again very soon" line will be read into.
Up next: Orton vs. Riley and Arquette in a handicap match. Main event will be Cena vs. Otunga.
DVD plugs: "Legendary" and "Knucklehead" available on DVD. Maybe that's what the Big 10 should have named the new divisions.
New Orleans: They did an NBC Sunday Night Football style re-intro showing cars driving on the freeway near the Arena as Cole reset the show in a voice-over.
In-ring: Randy Orton's music hit to bring out the #1 contender to the WWE Title. Orton entered the ring and posed in the corner with his arms straight up in the air ala Stone Cold. Orton then stared straight ahead toward the ring entrance before Miz's music hit to bring out Riley, Arquette, and Miz. Cole tried to get over the talking point about Miz being the "most must-see WWE champion ever" before plugging all of the appearances Miz has made the last three weeks. Cole also plugged Miz on Jimmy Fallon this Wednesday.
8 -- RANDY ORTON vs. ALEX RILEY & DAVID ARQUETTE (w/WWE champion The Miz)
Orton and Riley started things off. Orton landed a big knock-down clothesline, then stared a hole into Arquette. Riley suddenly gained control, then Arquette excitedly tagged in. DQ landed a sledgehammer to the back, but Orton popped up and no-sold. He landed a kick to the gut, then went into RKO mode. Arquette crapped his pants and quickly tagged out. Lawler cracked a joke about "Ready to Rumble," but Cole talked it up. Riley gained control on Orton, then Arquette choked Orton in the corner behind the ref's back. Orton made a comeback and stalked Riley for the RKO. He connected and made the cover, which was good for a three count.
Post-match: Miz immediately smashed Orton with the MITB briefcase that continues to be present for the third straight week despite Miz having to physically cash in the briefcase. Anyways, Miz brought a table into the ring. He tried to hook up with Arquette on a suplex through the table on Orton, but Orton blocked. Orton cleared Miz, but Arquette was stuck in the ring. Orton realized the opportunity he had and he proceeded to powerbomb Arquette through the table. That was a vicious-looking powerbomb. Orton had a little spit coming from his mouth to sell his intensity. He then stared down Miz, who sold that he was unfazed ringside. Orton celebrated in the ring and medics stormed the ring to give Arquette medical attention to sell the bomb.
WINNER: Orton at 3:24. I can't believe Arquette was back in a wrestling ring in 2010. Overall, decent final build-up for Miz vs. Orton, who went through the "mini-bosses" of Riley last week and Arquette this week leading to Miz at TLC. Selling PPVs will require a macro overhaul for WWE that one week of decent build-up won't be able to overcome. It's a culture and mindset that WWE has created. (*)
TLC plug: Lawler and Punk broke down the TLC PPV line-up, including four new matches announced tonight.
On-stage: Michael Cole walked out to announce the next award. Cole introduced the award for the "And I Quote" line of the year. The first nominee was Santino's Tea Time with Sheamus. Also, The Miz interacting with Bret Hart. Triple H joking with SES. John Cena with the Wendy's bit on Heath Slater. Edge arguing with a computer. "I want my son back! But, I still don't know how!" Batista: "Duct tape? Are you serious?" McMahon screaming, Stephanie McMahon's dream that Vince is still in a coma, and Jericho screaming at Cole to hurry up and read the GM's emails. Also, Titus O'Neil: "Make it a win" and Cottonwood's moustache promo. This was followed by Eve cutting a promo on The Miz, Mike Tyson clips, Randy Orton, Edge, Punk's commentary on Cena, Mae Young dropping the non-PG lines on Lay-Cool, Triple H, and "Damn!" from Ron Simmons.
Back to Cole, who said the winner is...himself. Cole laughed and said he's sort of shocked about this. He did the routine where he pulled out a prepared statement despite selling "shock." The Raw exit music hit to cut off Cole. Lawler then tried to plug the Superstar of the Year voting on WWE's website ending in 60 seconds, but he said "60 minutes" instead. A four-hour Raw? Lawler corrected himself and muttered, "I hate Cole," as they cut to break.
Next Week: three days of prime time WWE programming on USA Network for WWE Week.
On-stage: Roberts introduced Smackdown GM Teddy Long to present the final award. Cole said he's sick and tired of being disrespected with his speech cut off. Long introduced the nominees for Superstar of the Year: Edge, The Miz, Kane, John Cena, Rey Mysterio, and Randy Orton. And the winner is...John Cena for the second straight year.
[Q13 -- over-run] On cue, Cena's music hit and Punk noted Cena "works here again." Cena walked to the podium and thanked Long. Since Cena was no-selling the earlier beating, Cole tried to cover for Nexus, saying Cena must still be hurting. Cena said he's amazed the fans still voted for him since he didn't have a job an hour ago. He said leaving the company wasn't too bad because he spent the last month tailgating with WWE fans. Cena said it's a PG show, but he will say there is magic on Bourbon Street. Cena said he joined Nexus, he left the company, and now he is back full-time on Raw. By accepting the award, he will continue to be a man of his word. He has gotten to every member of Nexus except for two: Barrett and Otunga. He said Otunga will be taken out tonight, leaving Wade Barrett at TLC. Cena gave his word to the audience that every ounce of frustration, anger, and misery will be unleashed. "This Sunday, Wade Barrett will be destroyed," Cena said.
In-ring: Cena stormed the ring and handed the Slammy trophy to ref Chioda for safe-keeping. Cole reset the show three minutes past the top of the hour at this point. Nexus's music hit and Barrett walked out first. The cameras suddenly focused on the group that created Nexus's theme music. It goes against the idea of Nexus being anti-WWE when WWE is endorsing the group that made Nexus's music. Anyways, Barrett stopped Nexus on the stage and replayed footage from earlier when Nexus beat down Cena.
Back on the stage, Barrett smiled toward the ring as Cena asked for Otunga to come to the ring. Otunga high-fived all of the members of Nexus except for Barrett, who stared down at him. They nodded toward each other before Otunga made his way to the ring. Otunga stood on the ring apron and continued to look to the stage. The Nexus members then turned around and left one-by-one, just like the Nexus members bailed on Barrett last week, leaving Otunga alone with Cena.
9 -- WADE BARRETT vs. JOHN CENA
The bell sounded seven minutes past the top of the hour with Cena delivering a quick beat down on Otunga. Cena put a serious look on his face before delivering a clothesline. Otunga then blocked a corner attack and started landing right hand blows. Otunga followed with a back elbow smash for a one count. Out of nowhere, Cena came back with the STF and Otunga was forced to tap out. Sometime during this, Barrett made his way back on the stage to take a seat to watch.
WINNER: Cena via submission at 1:44.
Post-match: Cena brought a chair back in the ring. Cena smashed Otunga across the back while Barrett simply watched from the stage. Otunga reached out for Barrett, but no help was coming as Cena cracked the chair over Otunga's back again. Cena pointed toward Barrett to tell him this will be him on Sunday. Barrett shook his head no. Cena then measured Otunga for another chair shot to the back, then multiple shots to the legs. Otunga rolled to the outside and Cena fired himself up. Barrett shook his head before holding up his chair to say his is bigger than Cena's. Cole tried to give that final sales pitch for TLC that only Jim Ross can nail as they went to a final camera shot of Cena standing tall in the ring. They went off the air 11 minutes past the hour.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The first hour was awful, which again reinforced they do not need three-hour Raw episodes, then the show steadily improved with decent-to-good segments in the final two hours. WWE has put themselves in a situation where it's difficult to sell an off-brand PPV in this environment and promoting a ton of other items besides the PPV will probably leave viewers with the impression that TLC is a skippable PPV. The final sales pitch for WWE's only real money match of Cena vs. Barrett was good, but they rushed through Cena's firing and re-hiring so quickly that it will probably cost them money in the long-term.
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