Monday Night Raw Warm Up for December 5th, 2011

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A surprise Piper's Pit opened last week's Raw in front of the latest in a string of anti-Cena crowds.

Last week’s Monday Night Raw from the University of South Carolina advanced the storylines for a number of superstars, but heading into tonight’s show it’s John Cena whose future seems the most in question. As the crowds continue to jeer the one time fan favorite, Rowdy Roddy Piper tried to intervene with surprising results. For the first time in a long time, it’s left both of us very interested in what’s planned for Cena.

PTB: Clips from C.M. Punk’s WWE Championship win over Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series opened the show, but the surprise Piper’s Pit with John Cena really got things going. Some of Piper’s more recent appearances have been unfocused. This was great, particularly held up against Mick Foley’s “This Is Your Life” with John Cena a few weeks ago.

Brian: Anything would have been better than the “This Is Your Life” segment. I think the fact that it was horrible was bad enough, but the crowd reaction toward Cena made it even worse.

PTB: Piper’s Pit was a good use of Cena and the crowd’s energy and animosity toward him to drive the angle. All the while, Cena hasn’t done anything “wrong” or made a heel turn to get himself to this point.

Brian: I’m having trouble envisioning where this is going. Will Cena turn heel? Is this a way to try to endear him to the masses? Is this a way for them to convince Cena to go heel?

I honestly can’t see them turning him. He brings in major $$$ in merchandise and is the face of the company. As exciting as the possibility is, I see it doing more damage than helping business.

PTB: I honestly don’t see him doing a conventional turn. I also noticed a great sign during the segment asking if the Rock was there. It was almost immediately outdone by a guy in full Macho Man regalia and cowboy hat.

Brian: The sign was great. It’s a shame that nobody pointed it out. If WWE really wanted to, they could turn Rock into a heel by pointing out the fact that he turned his back on the fans and how he really hasn’t been around lately. Could that possibly help Cena?

PTB: The Miz vs. John Morrison was the first match on the “shaman’s” last night. Miz’s vicious attack has me thinking this is a Jericho-style break. I can’t think Morrison is going anywhere. That was a lot of air time for a guy who’s leaving.

Brian: You know, I was thinking the same thing. For a while, I was buying into the the philosophy that he is a pain in the a$$ and they couldn’t wait to get rid of him. If he was truly going somewhere else, I think they would have continued his losing streak until his final match to deflate his value.

Using a pipe on an opponent is completely legal in a falls count anywhere match? After Miz pulled out the kendo stick and Cole once again mentioned that it was completely legal in a falls count anywhere match, I wanted to hit myself with one. So annoying!!!

PTB: What was with the John Laurinaitis walk on?

Brian: That was so weird. No one mentioned it either. He just walked in and walked out.

PTB: I almost wish they hadn’t even tried to have a match, although it makes for a big push for Miz. Anyone else suspended or leaving to feed to him next week?

Brian: Not that I know of.

PTB: Apparently WWE ’12 is more real than wrestling and they’re heavily pushing it. Using it to promote the C.M. Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio rematch for the WWE Championship isn’t something I fault so much.

Del Rio and Punk did steal the show at Survivor Series and the rematch last week worked for me. I had some good ring psychology and several great near falls. It’s a PPV match on TV soon after the event, but getting it out of the way holds the promise of something new.

Brian: It was a decent match, but I felt like Del Rio looked lost a couple of times. The crowd was eerily quiet until near the end of the match when a few near falls happened. For me, the lack of reaction really took away from the performance.

PTB: Beyond having a solid match, Punk had a few other fun moments with his calculations regarding how boring Del Rio is relative to Laurinaitis’ spinlessness and very audible “It’s clobbering time!”

Brian: I feel like that segment was Punk’s way of taking a shot at WWE’s Twitter push. It’s grown quite annoying.

I think a lot of people have been questioning what he says when he comes to the ring. Hence the clearness of the battle cry this week.

PTB: Dolph Ziggler had another high profile match last week against Randy Orton. It spanned multiple segments and had the live crowd eating it up. WWE continues to put Ziggler in big spots to get over. They even gave him the video inset you like.

Brian: Did you notice the split screen before the break where Ziggler was walking at a normal place while Orton was doing his usual slow swagger? It was like watching the tortoise and the hare.

I think WWE had labeled him as a future main event star a while back, but they weren’t doing much with him. They’ve begun to ramp up their efforts. I think he’s a solid talent. I just can’t get over the name Dolph Ziggler.

PTB: This match was smoother than the previous week’s match with Punk, but not as much fun. It could be that I just don’t enjoy Orton. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about the “Show Off” bit they’ve added to Ziggler, but this was a huge win.

Brian: I noticed the “Show Off” graphic on the tron as he was walking down the aisle. He does a head-stand one week and then next he’s a “show off”. Doesn’t quite work for me.

PTB: They kept the Orton feud with Wade Barrett in play with his match-ending interference along with his ringside commentary. I’m not sure his words here did him any favors.

The interview with Daniel Bryan on the other hand was a big spot for him and I’ve become a big fan. His Money in the Bank “win” over Mark Henry was a lot of fun. Interacting with Michael Cole is not.

Brian: Again, Cole continues to make the show about him rather than the in-ring competitors. If WWE is looking to promote social interaction, I think I might start my own twitition to get him off TV. I want to see how many people hate him as much as me.

PTB: Cole’s contributions aside, they needed the segment (and the “St. Mick” bit) to promote the Smackdown holiday special that aired live last Tuesday. This is the second time they’ve done this recently with a live Tuesday Smackdown back in September when they started the SuperShows. Still can’t help but wonder if that might not be a better plan for their weekly schedule.

Brian: It makes me want to watch Smackdown more. When they tape it, I’m tempted to read the spoiler results. After I do that, I FF through the DVR’d show.

PTB: I rarely watch all of Smackdown for the same reasons.

Zach Ryder continued getting regular air time last week facing Jack Swagger. This was a much better appearance for the “internet sensation” than his match two weeks ago with Del Rio.

Brian: I wonder if the feud with Ziggler was ditched or if it will continue. Swagger and Ziggler are connected though.

PTB: The Twitter graphic “scrambled” into a second “It’s Coming 2012” video. I’m more convinced after seeing this one that it’s the Undertaker, and while I’m a huge fan, it’s just not exciting. Last year’s WrestleMania match with Tripple H may be part of it. I’m honestly looking forward to Kane’s return more. Unless this is all about Chris Jercho. That would change everything.

Brian: You forget to mention that the little fade of the Twitter logo to the link to the YouTube page happened during a Bella Twins tag match!!!! Love the new ring gear!!!!

Why did they create a brand new YouTube user to carry the video?

PTB: It looks like a new user was used for each of them.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN9FWb0zKm8]

Brian: I’m completely with you on the video being about Undertaker, being more excited about Kane’s return and the reasoning behind not being excited about Undertaker’s return. We were both very disappointed about his WrestleMania match with HHH. I tried to tell myself it was because the matches against Shawn Michaels the two previous years were so good, but I think it was just because it was so bad. Undertaker was in bad shape and HHH was noticeably rusty.

If this is all related to Undertaker, can it really be a second coming?

PTB: It looks like we’ll keep getting more as January 2nd, 2012 approaches.

There were lots of other quick efforts to promote mid carders throughout the show last week. Sheamus’ promo did nothing for me, (nor did his losing a battle royal on Smackdown to Hornswaggle, though it was kind of fun). Laurinaitis and Brodus Clay’s “debut” is nonsense. The “jog in” by Natalia and Beth was just silly. And Alex Riley in the back before Miz/Morrison. Where has thus guy been? I thought he’d be out to replace Morrison immediately upon seeing him, but it didn’t happen.

Brian: I was thinking about Riley the other day. He got the typical quick push and then fell off the face of the earth.

I’m really not looking forward to Brodus return and the constant delay on the part of WWE makes me think that some people in WWE aren’t either. He looks like King Koopa from Mario Bros. and it’s distracting.

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
November 28th, 2011 edition / December 12th, 2011 edition

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